Turkey condemns approval of new Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
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A general view of Amichai, the first Israeli West Bank settlement in 26 years, Feb. 22, 2018. (EPA Photo)
A general view of Amichai, the first Israeli West Bank settlement in 26 years, Feb. 22, 2018. (EPA Photo)

Turkey condemned Israel's approval of the construction of hundreds of new Jewish-only housing units in occupied East Jerusalem.

"We condemn Israel's approval of the construction of 3,000 new settlement units for Jewish settlers mostly on the private properties of Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied southern part of East Jerusalem, capital of the state of Palestine," a statement by the Foreign Ministry said.

The statement added that Turkey rejects steps taken by Israel, which disregard international law and relevant U.N. resolutions.

"Israel is turning its occupation into permanent colonialism by constructing settlement units on Palestinian lands and is thereby eliminating the very foundations of the peace process," the statement said.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 100 Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank, including the annexed east Jerusalem, which is seen as a major obstacle to peace between Israel and Palestinians. They live alongside some 3 million Palestinians.

After the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel annexed east Jerusalem and deems the entire city its "indivisible and eternal capital," a status not recognized internationally. Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, and it is now ruled by Hamas.

The international community regards all Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories to be illegal and a major obstacle to Middle East peace. The area, captured by Israel in 1967, is not sovereign Israeli territory and Palestinians there are not Israeli citizens and do not have the right to vote. Palestinians accuse Israel of waging an aggressive campaign to Judaize the historic city with the aim of effacing its Arab and Islamic identity and driving out its Palestinian inhabitants.

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