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Top Palestinian official slams Trump’s green light to Israeli settlements

The secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) has lashed out at US President Donald Trump for giving a green light to accelerated Israeli settlement activities by recognizing al-Quds as the regime’s capital.

According to Press TV, Saeb Erekat said on Thursday “President Trump’s decision to recognize al-Quds as Zionist regime’s capital not only disqualify the US from playing any constructive role towards achieving peace, but it provided the extremist Israeli regime with an opportunity and a green light to speed up their plans of the disposition of the Palestinian people.”

Erekat pointed to planned meetings of the Palestinian leadership on Sunday and Monday to formulate a response to Trump’s al-Quds decision and “discuss several recommendations toward holding Zionist regime accountable to advance with the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.”

Earlier in the day, Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement group that monitors settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, said Israeli authorities have approved more than 1,100 new settler units in the occupied West Bank.

The approvals were given on Wednesday by a military affairs committee responsible for authorizing settlement construction.

EU, UN slam Zionist regime’s settlement bids

Meanwhile, the European Union condemned the settlement approvals as “further jeopardizing the prospect of a contiguous and viable future Palestinian state.”

“The European Union’s position on Israeli settlement construction and related activities is clear and has not changed: all settlement activity is illegal under international law, and it undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace. The EU expects the Israeli authorities to reconsider and reverse these decisions,” an EU spokesperson said in a Thursday statement.

The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, also condemned the new settlement approvals as an obstacle to peace.

“In the aftermath of the decision to advance over 1,000 housing units in the occupied West Bank, I reiterate that Israeli settlement construction is illegal under international law and is one of the major obstacles to peace. I urge the Israeli authorities to cease and reverse such actions,” Mladenov said in a statement.

“Settlement-related activities undermine the chances for the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state as part of a negotiated two-state solution,” he added.

According to Peace Now, Israel approved some 6,742 settlement units for construction in 2017, the highest figure since 2013. In 2016, the number was 2,629 units.