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Israel loves to hate peace
The world knows very well now that Israel would go to any extent to scuttle peace efforts.

Its latest attempt has come in the form of a hint by its Housing Ministry of a plan to build 15,000 new settlement homes in occupied East Jerusalem.

Israeli Housing Minister Yoav Galant informed Israel Radio that his ministry and the Jerusalem Municipality had been working on the plan for two years. “We will build 10,000 units in Jerusalem and some 15,000 within the extended municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. It will happen,” he has stated.

If Israel does implement such an outrageous and condemnable plan, it would be another big thump in the face of the international community, which has been repeatedly cautioning the occupation forces against any such moves.

All settlements in occupied Palestine are illegal under international law, but Israel just would not care.

After all, the international community has so far been only issuing condemnations against such reprehensible actions by Israel, without any concrete punishment for defiance.

The new settlements move would also come as a huge snub for US President Donald Trump who had requested Israel to “hold back” on settlements as part of a possible new push for peace.

Incidentally, a formal announcement of the settlement plan could actually come around the time Trump is scheduled to visit Israel next month.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat has rightly stated that such a move by Israel would be a systematic violation of international law and a deliberate sabotage of efforts to resume talks.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, Netanyahu’s government came under repeated censure for building such settlements, which the previous US administration saw as a clear obstacle to peace.

Unfortunately, the Trump team has not been vociferous in pulling up Israel for its various atrocities.

On the ground, harassment of Palestinians continues in varied forms. So much so that hundreds of Palestinians have been forced to go on hunger strike in Israeli prisons. Some 1,500 Palestinian prisoners are ingesting only water and salt.

The genuine demands of the prisoners include better medical care and phone access.

Some 6,500 Palestinians are currently detained by Israel, mostly on baseless charges. Around 500 are being held under Israel’s system of administrative detention, which allows for imprisonment without charge.

There are already reports that the health condition of a few prisoners has seriously declined.

Israel should be held accountable for all its grave violations of international law throughout occupied Palestine.

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