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12 December 2017 Last updated 2 hours ago

Palestinians condemn Israeli bills on settlements, prayer calls

Palestinians condemn Israeli bills on settlements, prayer calls Palestinians condemn Israeli bills on settlements, prayer calls

Officials in the Palestinian Authority (PA) have condemned two bills adopted by a group of Israeli ministers, which could legalize thousands of settlements in the occupied West Bank while imposing restrictions on Muslim prayer calls in the occupied territories.

“The recent Israeli measures are going to lead to catastrophe in the region,” Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said on Monday, adding, “The Palestinian leadership will turn to the UN Security Council and all other international organizations to stop those Israeli measures.”

The Israeli parliament should approve the two bills on settlements and prayer calls which were adopted by a committee of Israeli ministers on Sunday.

The settlement bill seeks to legalize all houses built on Palestinian private lands. The legislation states that the Tel Aviv regime can order the confiscation of privately owned Palestinian land in exchange for compensation.

The other bill would limit the volume of calls at mosques in the occupied territories, including in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Palestinian leaders say the bills, pushed forward by a hard-line Israeli party, are aimed at casting further ambiguity around the Israeli occupation.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki said Israel was seeking to “impose facts on the ground and create new realities by legalizing the illegal actions that it commits.”

Read more: US 'strongly condemns' Israel over new settlement plan

Officials in the United Nations also reacted to the bills, with Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov said such measures were “further pouring oil onto the fire.”

Israel has built thousands of units for settlers in the West Bank since it occupied the area in 1967. That has also been the case in East Jerusalem al-Quds, a territory which Israel annexed in 1980. The settlements are considered illegal by the international community.

Earlier on Monday, Israel’s Supreme Court dismissed a petition by Tel Aviv to delay the evacuation and demolition of the illegal Israeli settlement of Amona outpost in the occupied West Bank beyond a late December deadline.

Proponents of the bill to legalize settlements say the illegal construction should continue as prospects for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank, including the lands captured in 1967, have become dimmer since Donald Trump won the November 8 US presidential election.