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Settlement expansion threatens to distract from Palestinian unity

Israel’s reaction to the Palestinian reconciliation, threatening to expand the settlements, is an attempt to disrupt the new unity government’s plan to establish itself as a unified state under occupation.
A Palestinian protester throws a stone towards an Israeli military bulldozer during a protest against the Jewish settlement of Qadomem, near the West Bank City of Nablus May 2, 2014. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman (WEST BANK - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR3NJYG

The strident tone with which the Israeli government, particularly its prime minister, responded to the new Palestinian national unity government is an indication that any time the Palestinians seek to take serious steps toward establishing their rights, Israel considers it a “provocation.” Such actions, in Israel’s view, excuses its ongoing policy of creeping settlements on an even larger scale. Accordingly, Israel announced June 5 that it would build 3,000 more settler housing units in response to the inauguration of the Palestinian unity government.

Housing Minister Uri Ariel issued notices inviting bids to construct 1,500 units, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered planning to proceed for a further 1,500.

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