Foreign Ministry: Settlement Expansion Legitimizes ICC Persecution of Israel

RAMALLAH, February 9, 2015 (WAFA) – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed that Israel’s decision to expand four West Bank illegal settlements provides conclusive evidence on the legality of the Palestinian Authority’s move to prosecute Israel over possible war crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The Israeli government has marked some 3,740 dunums in the occupied West Bank as state land, preparing to expand four illegal settlements, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.

It said the so-called Israeli Civil Administration, which has complete jurisdiction in Area C of the West Bank, set a plan to expand the settlements of Kedumim, Vered Yericho, Neveh Tzuf and Emanuel.

The ministry, in a statement issued Monday, expressed grave concern over Israel’s settlement expansion plan, stating that, by following such move Israel defies the International Quartet and international calls to resume peace negotiations.

It stressed that such decision undermines the viability of an independent Palestinian state, and that this move is a clear and open call by the Israeli government to bring the region back into the cycle of violence.

The ministry called upon the International Quartet, and member states of the United Nations’ Security Council (UNSC) to uphold their responsibilities toward promptly putting an end to this destruction of peace and compel Israel to respect the international law and relevant Fourth Geneva Conventions.