Egypt condemned on Wednesday the Israeli Knesset’s approval of a bill allowing the return of settlers to four settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories that were dismantled in 2005.
Egypt stressed that settlement activity in all its forms is illegal and illegitimate, as confirmed by the decisions of international legitimacy and the rules of international law.
The statement pointed out that such decisions and legislations obstruct the ongoing efforts to achieve calm between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, inflame the feelings of anger among the Palestinian people, and complicate the political and security environment in the occupied Palestinian territories further every day.
The Knesset (parliament) General Committee approved, on Tuesday at the first reading, the bill of “abolishing secession” from the northern West Bank settlements, with 40 members in favour and 17 against.
The bill would lift the ban on settlers entering and staying in the evacuated northern West Bank settlement areas.
It would repeal the decision to separate from the settlements of Ganim, Kadim, Homesh and Sanur, which were dismantled in 2005, as part of efforts to legalize illegal outposts in the northern West Bank.
For its part, the Arab League condemned the Knesset’s approval of the bill, noting that it comes within the framework of the escalatory resolutions of the occupation government, which will allow the return of settlers to four settlements, which are located on Palestinian land in the Jenin governorate in the northern West Bank.
A statement issued by the Arab League said that this step also comes in the context of the occupation authorities intensifying Israeli settlement activity by seizing more land, legalizing outposts and demolishing Palestinian homes and forcing them to flee, in the context of the creeping annexation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The Arab League held the occupation authorities fully responsible for these continuous aggressive policies, which emphasize the continuation of Israeli practices, procedures and crimes as well as the denial of all efforts to revive the peace process based on the two-state solution.
The statement called on the international community, especially the UN Security Council, to shoulder its responsibilities in maintaining international peace and security, and to take all necessary measures to curb this Israeli settlement incursion in the occupied Palestinian territories and provide protection to the Palestinian people.
The league also called for an end to the ongoing Israeli violations and for ensuring Israel’s compliance with the resolutions of international legitimacy and international law.
For its part, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned in the strongest terms the Israeli Knesset’s approval of the abolition of the so-called “Separation Law,” as a fundamental step towards legalizing the many arbitrary outposts located in the northern West Bank.
It also indicated that this is a prelude to the return of settlers and the construction of these buildings, which will lead to the looting of more Palestinian lands, the deepening of settlements and the broadening of the bases of Jewish terrorism in the occupied West Bank.
The Ministry considered that the step of this legislation is a dangerous escalation in the situation on the battlefield and a disregard for the efforts made to reduce tension and achieve calm.
The ministry called on the international community and the US administration to exert real pressure on the Israeli government to stop this official Israeli tampering and destruction in the arena of the conflict.
In the same context, the United States expressed on Tuesday its “grave concern” after the Israeli parliament canceled part of a law preventing settlers from living in areas in the occupied West Bank evacuated by the Israeli government in 2005, considering the decision to be “provocative”.
“The US is deeply concerned about the passage in the Israeli Knesset of a law that would repeal significant portions of the 2005 disengagement bill,” said State Department spokesperson Vedent Patel.