The Palestinian Authority on Thursday warned that legalizing illegal settler outposts in the West Bank would undermine any possibility of achieving peace and establishing an independent Palestinian state.
The warning came in response to reports to the effect that prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu and Otzma Yehudit faction head Itamar Ben-Gvir agreed to a number of legislative initiatives, including the retroactive legalization of the outposts within 60 days of the government being sworn in.
Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir also reportedly agreed to change the 2005 Disengagement Law so as to allow the legalization of the Homesh outpost and yeshiva in the northern West Bank.
In response, PA presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudaineh warned that the planned Israeli measures would be harmful to the two-state solution.
Abu Rudaineh pointed out that the Netanyahu-Ben-Gvir understandings would “deepen the settlements and lead to the confiscation of more Palestinian land.”
He said that all Israeli settlements are “illegal” regardless of who is in power in Israel. “These understandings contradict all resolutions of international legitimacy and international law,” the PA official added.
Abu Rudaineh called on the international community to assume its responsibilities and stop Israeli settlements. The Palestinians, he stressed, continue to adhere to their demand for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the understandings, saying that, if implemented, they would undermine international and regional efforts to restore mutual confidence between the Palestinians and Israelis.
The ministry warned of the “disastrous repercussions” of the understandings on the entire region. It said that such measures add credibility to the Palestinian effort to prosecute Israel before the International Criminal Court and other international forums. The ministry called on the US administration and the international community to exert pressure on Israel to force it to abandon plans to legalize the outposts.
In a related development, PLO Secretary-General Hussein al-Sheikh held talks in Ramallah with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Palestinian-Israeli Affairs Hady Amr and discussed with him the latest developments in the region in the aftermath of the results of the recent Israeli elections.
Sheikh, who is seen by some Palestinians as a leading candidate to succeed PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said after the meeting that he also discussed with the US envoy “the need for a political horizon that preserves the two-state solution in accordance with international legitimacy, and for Israel to stop all its unilateral measures that destroy this solution and create a difficult and complex atmosphere that affects security and stability.”
Hamas, for its part, said that the talk about understandings reached between Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir “reflects the depth of the racism and fascism that will run the upcoming Zionist government.”
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said that all settlements are illegal and in violation of all laws. He warned that the policies of the new right-wing government would aggravate tensions in the region. “The Palestinian people will continue their legitimate struggle against the occupation and its racist policies regardless of the terrorist composition of the occupation government,” Qassem said.