- Title: Israel starts work on new settlement, even as U.S. steps up peace efforts
- Date: 20th June 2017
- Summary: AMICHAI, WEST BANK (JUNE 20, 2017) (REUTERS) MECHANICAL DIGGERS WORKING AT SITE WHERE ISRAEL BEGINS WORKS TO ERECT NEW WEST BANK SETTLEMENT FOR RESIDENTS OF THE ILLEGAL OUTPOST OF AMONA WHICH WAS EVACUATED UNDER SUPREME COURT ORDER VARIOUS OF HEAVY MACHINERY WORKING AT SITE VARIOUS OF ISRAELI LAWMAKER OF THE FAR-RIGHT JEWISH HOME PARTY, MOTI YOGEV, WITH PEOPLE AT SITE DIGGER AT WORK (SOUNDBITE) (Hebrew) ISRAELI LAWMAKER OF THE FAR-RIGHT JEWISH HOME PARTY, MOTI YOGEV, SAYING: "Here, the settlement of Amichai will be built and established for those evicted from Amona, and will strengthen our hold in the very heart of the land of Israel." VARIOUS OF YOGEV WITH MAN AT SITE VARIOUS OF WORK UNDERWAY RAMALLAH, WEST BANK (JUNE 20, 2017) (REUTERS) PALESTINIAN PRESIDENTIAL COMPOUND PALESTINIAN FLAG NABIL ABU RUDEINEH, SPOKESMAN FOR PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD ABBAS, WALKING INTO ROOM (SOUNDBITE) (English) NABIL ABU RUDEINEH, SPOKESMAN FOR PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD ABBAS, SAYING: "The resumption of these activities is a clear message to the American administration and to the efforts of President Trump. The American envoy is already in the area; tomorrow President Abbas will be receiving him. This is obstacle to the efforts of President Trump to resume the peace process." PALESTINIAN PRESIDENTIAL COMPOUND
- Embargoed: 4th July 2017 14:16
- Keywords: Israel settlement West Bank settlers U.S. peace
- Location: AMICHAI AND RAMALLAH, WEST BANK
- City: AMICHAI AND RAMALLAH, WEST BANK
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0016M31ZD3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Israel broke ground on Tuesday (June 20) on its first new settlement in the occupied West Bank in two decades, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, announcing the symbolic move on the eve of a peace mission by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner.
Tractors began digging the earth for the construction of Amichai, which will house some 300 settlers evicted in February from the Amona settlement after Israel's Supreme Court ruled their homes had been built illegally on privately-owned Palestinian land.
By highlighting the earth-moving work - no date has been announced for actual housing construction - Netanyahu appeared to suggest he believed he had little to fear from U.S. President Donald Trump's administration over settlement building that has drawn Palestinian and international condemnation.
During a meeting at the White House in February, Trump asked Netanyahu to "hold back on settlements for a little bit", a request seen as part of an effort to build trust with the Palestinians ahead of a renewed push for peace.
The White House said on Sunday (June 18) that Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, would arrive in Israel on Wednesday (June 21) and that he and Jason Greenblatt, a top U.S. national security aide who preceded him on Monday, would meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called the ground-breaking "an obstacle to the efforts of President Trump to resume the peace process."
Palestinians see settlements, around 200 of which have been built over the past 50 years on occupied territory that they seek for a state, as obstacles to a viable and contiguous country. Around 400,000 Israelis now live in West Bank settlements, among around 2.8 million Palestinians.
Most countries view settlements that Israel has built on land captured in the 1967 Middle East war as illegal. Israel disputes that, citing biblical, historical and political links to the West Bank, as well as security interests.
The Palestinians want an independent state in the West Bank and Gaza, with its capital in East Jerusalem, and also claims historical and political links to the land.
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