Israel starts work on new West Bank settlement

The two arrived in the region amidst the White House’s efforts to revive the long-stalled peace talks.

Mladenov was delivering the second report on implementation of the resolution adopted by the council in December condemning Israeli settlements as a “flagrant violation” of worldwide law.

Before the “Oslo Accords” officially opened negotiations in 1993, between Palestine and Israel, roughly 200,000 settlers illegally lived in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The resolution was adopted with 14 votes in favor and one abstention from the United States at the 15-member council.

Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said on Tuesday the announcement by the Israeli government to build a new settlement in the occupied West Bank thwarts peace efforts of US President Donald Trump.

The Israeli Prime Minister made the announcment as USA envoys prepared to discuss a new peace push.

Netanyahu announced Tuesday on Twitter that “work began today on-site, as I promised, to establish the new settlement”, including a picture of construction equipment breaking ground.

Despite global opposition to Israeli settlement construction, which is illegal under worldwide law, ground was broken at the site of the proposed Amichai settlement, which is meant to accommodate settlers who the Israeli High Court evicted from the illegal Amona outpost earlier this year.

Peace Now said Monday that new figures from the Israeli government showed a 70 percent rise in settlement construction over the previous year.

While Israel has continued to expand settlements, this is the first time it has built a new one since the 1990s.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the issue is between the Palestinian leadership and Hamas, an Islamic militant group that Israel refuses to deal with.

Unnamed White House officials cited by several news sources have reiterated that an agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians is a priority for the Trump administration.

Trump has asked Netanyahu to hold back on settlement building as he seeks to build momentum for a new peace push.

Netanyahu, however, faces political pressure from the settler movement, which wields heavy influence in his right-wing governing coalition.

Greenblatt arrived in Israel on Monday for preliminary discussions in both Jerusalem and Ramallah, and will remain for follow-up talks after Kushner has departed, officials said.

It will accommodate some 40 families whose homes were cleared from the unauthorised settler outpost of Amona.