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Israeli minister vows to expand settlements

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Israeli far-right Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman challenged the European Union on Sunday, November 16, asserting that Israel will never limit its construction activity in Al-Quds (occupied Jerusalem).

“We will not accept any restrictions on building in Jewish communities in Jerusalem – there will be no compromise on the matter,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said at a press conference Sunday alongside visiting German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, Haaretz reported.

“Those who think the government of Israel will surrender and restrict its construction in Jerusalem are wrong. We will guard our independence and our sovereignty.”

Lieberman was responding to reports that the European Union had secretly drafted new sanctions against Israel ahead of possible diplomatic steps it might take, including making the establishment of a Palestinian state impossible.

His remarks came four days after Israel approved plans to build 200 homes in Ramot in Occupied AL-Quds despite months of almost daily clashes and tensions there with Palestinians, triggered in part by settlement expansion.

“There is no place for linking the bilateral relations between Israel and the European union to the relations between Israel and the Palestinians,” Lieberman said.

“Any attempt to levy such conditions is erroneous and does not contribute to stability, normalization or the strengthening of ties between Israel and the Palestinians,” Lieberman added.

“That is the widest consensus in Israel, agreed upon by Jews from the left, the right and the center, and I hope that the European Union will take that into account,” Lieberman said.

“Nobody would accept that construction in neighborhoods like Ramot, Gilo or East Talpiyot is ‘settlement building.’ This does injustice to reality, and we will not accept this.”

Israel occupied the holy city of Al-Quds, the West Bank and Golan Heights in the 1967 war and later annexed them in a move not recognized by the international community or UN resolutions.

Since then, Israel has adopted a series of oppressive measures to force the Palestinians out of Al-Quds, including systematic demolition of their homes and building settlements.

There are more than 164 Jewish settlements in the West Bank, eating up more than 40 percent of the occupied West Bank.

The international community considers all settlements on the occupied land illegal.

Europe’s recent actions against the illegal settlements are not the first.

Last June, France cautioned its citizens against engaging in any business in the Palestinian occupied territories, saying that illegal Israeli settlements breach the international law.

Netherlands too has warned its citizens against taking part in any business in the occupied lands. Meanwhile, the largest Dutch company has canceled its deals with Israel’s national water company.

In May 2013, the European Union has vehemently condemned Israeli plans for 1,000 new units in Al-Quds (Occupied Jerusalem), with broad-scale boycotts for the Europe’s private sector and Israeli businesses. ONISLAM

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