PA appeals to Security Council to intervene on settlements

Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin uses a tractor to plant a tree at the West Bank settlement outpost of Migron in January. (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

NEW YORK (JWN and agencies)—The Palestinian Authority’s envoy to the United Nations on Wednesday wrote the Security Council and General Assembly condemning settlement in the West Bank and calling on the council to intervene.

PA representative Riyad Mansour wrote that, instead of abiding by its commitment under the road map to freeze settlement activity, Israel “continues directly to neglect and violate all international commitments,” the Palestinian news agency Ma’an reported.

Mansour asserted that Israel’s recent settlement activity is proof that Jerusalem rejects a two-state solution based on pre-June 1967 lines and that continued settlement is making the geographic contiguity of a future Palestinian state impossible, according to the report.

He was referring to the cabinet decision on Monday to legalize three West Bank outposts: Rehalim, Bruchin, and Sansana.

The Prime Minister’s Office stated that previous cabinet decisions predating the Road Map settlement hiatus approved the three communities as settlements. Accordingly, the government approved the creation of Bruchin on May 19, 1983, Rehalim on November 27, 1991, and Sansana on June 28, 1998, as legal settlements.

However, the three communities were never authorized by the Defense Ministry, which left them in limbo as outposts. All three outposts are on state land, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Peace Now lists all three communities as outposts. It estimates that Bruchin, which is one of the largest of the nearly 100 outposts, has a population of 350 people, with 52 caravans and 53 permanent homes. It estimates that Rehalim has a population of 240, with 24 permanent homes and 41 mobile ones, and that Sansana has a population of 240, with 21 mobile homes and 58 caravans.

Following Monday’s cabinet decision, the United States, European Union, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon all condemned the move

The Palestinian Authority also responded, urging Israel to “immediately halt unilateral actions” in the West Bank. Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of “pushing matters once again toward a deadlock.”