On Sunday Israeli Minister without portfolio, Benni Begin, placed the corner stone of ten new homes for Jewish settlers in the illegal settlement of Beit Hagai, south of Hebron in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. During the ceremony, Begin said that this issue is part of what he described as “The country’s right to build in the Land of Israel”. “There is nothing out of the ordinary here”, he added.

Begin also said that his presence here means that Israel will continue to build settlements, and that there is no difference between a smaller settlement and a settlement bloc, “they will all expand, they will all thrive,” he stated.

He further claimed that the constructions do not contradict the temporary settlement freeze in the occupied West Bank, and that the new constructions in Beit Hagai were approved by the government more than three months ago, and that the government also approved the construction of 3000 more homes for Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

The Israeli government declared a ten-month settlement freeze in November of last year, but also decided that this freeze does not include Jerusalem or public structures in West Bank settlements.

The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah is demanding that Israel stop all of its settlement activities in the West Bank and in occupied East Jerusalem as a condition to resume the stalled peace talks.

By constructing settlements in the occupied territories, Israel is committing direct violations to international law and the Fourth Geneva Conventions.