Turkey condemns Israel’s plan to expand settlements in West Bank

The Turkish foreign ministry on Wednesday condemned what it called the illegal advancement of over 2,000 new homes in West Bank settlements by Israel.

The approval by Israeli authorities last month of various planning stages for the construction of a total of 2,342 new housing units in the occupied West Bank is a new and clear example of the country’s policy of demographic engineering, state-run Anadolu news agency quoted the ministry as saying.

"We object to this illegal decision by Israel, which in a mockery of international law continues to violate the basic rights of Palestinians and call on all members of the international community to fulfil their responsibilities in objecting to the occupation and tyranny of Palestinians,’’ the ministry said.

The West Bank is home to 3 million Palestinians and over 400,000 Israelis living in settlements deemed illegal according to international law. 

The United Nations Security Council in a resolution adopted on Dec. 23, 2016 stated that Israel's settlement activity constitutes a "flagrant violation" of international law and has "no legal validity". Resolution 2334 called for Israel to stop such activity and fulfil its obligations as an occupying power.

The EU on Monday said that all settlement activity on occupied land is illegal and “erodes the viability” of the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Israel has pushed forward plans for over 8,300 settlement homes in the West Bank this year, marking an overall 5 percent increase compared to 2018, according to Israeli anti-settlement watchdog group Peace Now.