The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates says Israel is transforming towns and cities across the occupied West Bank into isolated islands scattered among Israeli settlements.
The ministry, in a statement released on Tuesday, stated that Palestinian areas in the West Bank are connected to each other by roads controlled by Israeli forces, who impose sweeping restrictions on the movement of people and goods into and out of those regions.
The statement added that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s expansionist policies and provocative actions besides his push for settlement expansion activities are observable facts in the West Bank and are represented in the construction of structures that are illegal under international law.
The Palestinian ministry further said settler attacks and violent crimes have dramatically soared in the run-up to Israel’s legislative elections slated for March 23, and have turned Palestinian territories into a battlefield for various right-wing Israeli political parties and a topic for electoral generosity at the expense of Palestinians’ rights.
It added that Palestinian areas spanning from the city of Nablus, located approximately 49 kilometers (30 miles) north of Jerusalem, to the northern Jordan Valley have suffered the most as a result of repressive measures and repeated settler attacks on civilian facilities and properties.
The ministry said the uptick in Israel’s settlement expansion activities comes amid large-scale and systematic demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures in the occupied Jerusalem or in Area C of the West Bank.
Such conducts are meant to evict Palestinian residents of their homeland in favor of extremist settlers, and will diminish prospects for the establishment of an independent and sovereign State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, the statement read.
The Palestinian foreign ministry expressed surprise over the international community’s silence and apathy towards the Israeli regime’s attempts to change the status quo in the occupied West Bank, and close the door on the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of the so-called two-state solution.
On March 9, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called on the administration of US President Joe Biden to make good on its opposition to Israel’s settlement expansion across the occupied West Bank and take concrete measures to tackle it.
Shtayyeh said Israeli settlement expansions amid the global coronavirus pandemic undermine international efforts to keep alive the prospect for the establishment of an independent State of Palestine.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds. All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.