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RAMALLAH: Fears over the future of the two-state solution in Palestine grew after Israel approved a plan to build more than 4,000 settlement units in the West Bank.

This move threatens Palestinian hopes for a two-state solution and the establishment of an independent state.

If built, settlements will break the geographical contiguity between occupied territories.

The Israeli Civil Administration’s Higher Planning Committee has approved the construction of 4,427 new housing units in settlements in the occupied West Bank, according to the NGO Peace Now.

Fifteen European countries, including France, Germany and Italy, have denounced the plans and demanded that Israel suspend the proposal.

The United States also confirmed its opposition to the new approvals.

The PA Foreign Ministry has condemned the approval of the new settlement plans which include 3,988 housing units, including many isolated outposts.

The department said in a statement that the approval was granted despite strong opposition from the US administration, voiced by more than one US official in the past week.

The UN stressed that efforts to build trust between the Palestinian and Israeli sides and the establishment of a truce are a prelude to resolving the conflict.

The ministry said “the racist colonial move is part of the creeping annexation of the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Masafer Yatta and the Jordan Valley – to eliminate any chance of establishing a Palestinian state. viable, geographically connected and sovereign.”

Some Palestinian critics argue that the Israeli government is racing against time to resolve the future of final issues negotiated unilaterally and by force of the occupation in accordance with Israel’s interests.

It also tries to preserve the ruling coalition at the expense of Palestinian land and people’s rights, they claim.

The ministry called on the US administration to keep its commitments and promises and to translate its positions and words into actions to pressure the Israeli government to stop all settlement activities in a way that leads to the protection of the two-state solution.

Around 700,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank in 125 settlements considered illegal under international law. Some Israelis marked the recent approval with celebrations.

Critics warn that Israeli governments have tolerated and even encouraged settlers to seize Palestinian land in Area C, which forms 60% of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Settlement activity peaked during the tenure of former US President Donald Trump, who backed Israel unconditionally.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennet’s ruling Israeli regime is a diehard supporter of settlement and settler expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, critics say, pointing to Bennet’s tenure as mayor of a settlement in the West Bank .

Many in Palestine are deeply concerned that settlement expansion is detrimental to the two-state solution and poses a serious threat to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with geographical continuity – a long-standing goal of prominent figures. Palestinian policies.

Mustafa Barghouti, general secretary of the Palestinian Initiative Party, told Arab News: “This confirms that Israel’s intention is to destroy any possibility of establishing an independent Palestinian state.

Barghouti said the expansion of settlement construction under the Naftali government “is faster than any previous right-wing government, and it is, of course, worse than the Netanyahu government.”

He added: “It is shameful that parties like the left-wing Meretz party and the party of Mansour Abbas remain in such a government, which must be overthrown immediately.

Barghouti said Israel “will not be deterred unless US sanctions are imposed on it and the companies investing in the settlements.”

He noted that the United States imposed heavy sanctions on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine, but imposed no punitive measures against Israel, despite its apparent violation of international law.