The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has condemned a controversial plan by Israel to build a new settlement in the heart of the flashpoint West Bank city of Hebron, the Palestine News Network reported.
Naftali Bennett, right-wing Israeli minister of military affairs, said on Sunday, that the new settlement, to be constructed at the site of a wholesale market complex used by Palestinians, will âdoubleâ the number of settlers in Hebron.
Under the construction project, the old market stalls will be demolished to make way for new shops and residential buildings.
Currently, approximately 200,000 Palestinians live Hebron, alongside, but separate from, about 800 illegal Israeli settlers, guarded by hundreds of Israeli soldiers.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, OIC Secretary General, Yusuf bin Ahmed al-Uthaymeen said the Israeli decision to âis a flagrant breach of international law, the Geneva Accord and relevant UN resolutions, and undermines peace efforts.â
He also urged the international community and the UN Security Council to take âresolute actionâ towards ending Israeli settlement policies.
Earlier, Saeb Erekat, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) secretary general, said the project was the âfirst tangible result of the US decision to legitimize colonization.â
He was referring to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeoâs announcement last month that the establishment of settlements in the occupied West Bank âis not per se inconsistent with international law.â
Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now also condemned Hebron settlement plan as an addition to the âugliest face of Israelâs control in the occupied territories.â
âIn order to maintain the presence of 800 settlers among a quarter of a million Palestinians, entire streets in Hebron are closed to Palestinians, denying them freedom of movement,â Peace Now said in a statement.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank.
Emboldened by US President Donald Trumpâs all-out support, Israel has stepped up its settlement construction activities in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounced settlements across the West Bank âa flagrant violation under international law.â
Edited for IMEMC: Ali Salam