RAMALLAH (Dispatches) – Palestinians have slammed the Zionist regime’s decision on building a new settlement in the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil, saying it is a "clear result" of the U.S. backing.
"Israel's decision to build a new illegal settlement in occupied al-Khalil is the first tangible result of the U.S. decision to legitimize colonization; this cannot be taken out of the annexation context," said Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
"Concrete measures, including sanctions against settlements, are an international responsibility," he tweeted.
His tweet came right after Zionist war minister Naftali Bennett approved the construction of a new settlement in al-Khalil.
The Zionist regime’s settlement activity is deemed illegal by most world powers and the international law. It is considered one of the major issues that caused the collapse of the talks between Palestinians and Zionists in 2014.
The Zionist regime’s plan to construct the new settlement in al-Khalil will purportedly accommodate as many settlers as are currently housed in the city.
The planned project will "double” the number of Israeli settlers in the city, Bennett said.
Al-Khalil is a flashpoint of clashes between Palestinians and Zionist settlers.
Hundreds of Zionist settlers, backed by tens of thousands of soldiers, occupy significant parts of the city center.
Meanwhile, the United Nations says the Zionist regime’s authorities have demolished or confiscated 39 Palestinian buildings in the occupied West Bank over the past two weeks, on the grounds that they lacked the required construction permits.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its biweekly Protection of Civilians Report that the regime’s demolitions, which took place between November 12 and 25, led to the displacement of 63 people, and badly affected 380 others.
The report added that 35 of the targeted buildings, including two which were being used for humanitarian purposes, were located in the so-called Area C.
Area C, which is under the regime’s full control, makes up more than 60 percent of the entire occupied West Bank. Eighty eight percent of the area lies in the strategic Jordan Valley, which comprises a third of the occupied West Bank.
Zionist regime authorities frequently demolish Palestinian buildings and residences in Area C, with Bedouin and herding communities being particularly vulnerable to that practice.