Israel announces plans to build illegal settlement near besieged Gaza Strip
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank
By News Desk - February 06 2023

A man places the Palestinian flag on the Israeli separation wall, with Israeli settlements in the background. (Photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

The Israeli government announced plans to construct a new illegal settlement in the Negev desert area near the besieged Gaza Strip, a decision immediately denounced by the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted on 5 February, “We decided today during a cabinet session to develop a new settlement adjacent to the Gaza Strip in conjunction with the Minister of Construction and Housing, Yitzhak Goldknopf.”

According to Netanyahu, “the construction of the new settlement is proof of Israel’s strength.”

The development takes place just days after Israeli authorities approved plans to establish buildings for public and commercial use on land taken from Palestinians, including in the illegal settlements of Kiryat HaYovel, Arnona, and Katamonim. These buildings would total nearly 1,200 units.

Meanwhile, in a statement published on its website, Hamas denounced that “the Zionist occupation government continues its aggressive settlement policies in Palestinian territory” before warning that the decision represents “a dangerous escalation that will neither give security and stability to the settlers nor give the occupation legitimacy or sovereignty over the territory.”

Hamas called on the international community to “assume its responsibilities in dealing with the racist policies of the occupation” and stressed that they “threaten peace and security in the region.”

On 5 December, the advocacy group Don’t Buy into Occupation (DBIO) published a report about the investments of European firms in Israel’s illegal settlements, stating that it increased by more than $30 billion in 2022 to a total of $171 billion in the past three years.

Almost 24 Palestinian, regional, and European organizations have joined forces to form the group, which aims to investigate and disclose any connections between European financial institutions and companies involved in illegal Israeli settlements.

Loans and underwriting totaled $171.4 billion over the three years covered by the report. The figure represents a $30 billion increase over last year, when European firms invested $141 billion in illegal settlements. European investors are also said to hold $115.5 billion in shares and bonds of companies benefiting from the settlements as of August 2022.

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