'Israel racing to increase settlements before Biden takes office'

Israel racing to increase settlements before Biden takes office

Ramallah: Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye said that the Israeli government was racing to build more settlements before US President-elect Joe Biden takes office on Wednesday.

"The Israeli decision to construct 760 new settlement units in the West Bank shows that Israel races time before the departure of the current administration," Ishtaye told the weekly meeting of the Palestinian cabinet held on Monday in Ramallah.

Ishtaye called on the international community "to take a serious stand against the Israeli settlements and shoulder its responsibility to protect the two-state solution, Xinhua news agency reported.

Ishtaye's remarks come after Israel's latest decision to advance plans for some 800 settlement units, most of which are located deep inside the occupied West Bank.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said that the decision to construct the new units in the West Bank's settlement was a response to the recent killing of an Israeli woman near Jenin.

Besides Palestine, the move has been condemned by the UK, Egypt, France, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and other countries and international organisations.

The Palestinians, who claim all of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and a majority of the international community consider the settlements a violation of international law and a hurdle to peace.

More than 600,000 Jews live in about 140 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

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