Netanyahu visits West Bank, vows not to evict settlements

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-31 19:35:19|Editor: Wu Qin
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JERUSALEM, July 31 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited a West Bank settlement on Wednesday, a day after his cabinet approved the building of thousands of new settlement homes.

Netanyahu inaugurated a new promenade in Efrat, a settlement located in the settlement bloc of Gush Etzion, south of Bethlehem.

He pledged not to evict any Israeli settlement, even not in the framework of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. "No settlement or settler will be uprooted," he said during the ceremony. "What you're doing here is forever. (Efrat) is the southern gate to Jerusalem," he added.

He later wrote on his Facebook page that Israel will build 8,000 new homes for settlers "in the next few years."

His remarks came a day after the Israeli cabinet gave approval to the construction of 6,000 new homes for Israeli settlers and a rare approval to some 700 Palestinian homes.

The move was made ahead of the expected arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, to the region.

Local media reported that Kushner will arrive in Israel later on Wednesday in another shuttle diplomacy effort to promote the White House's peace deal.

The settlements are located in the West Bank and East Jerualem, predominantly Palestinian territories seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel annexed East Jerusalem and has continued to control it ever since despite international criticism.

Some 600,000 Israeli settlers live there now in heavily guarded settlements among about 2.9 million Palestinians, according to Israeli figures.

The Palestinians wish to establish their future state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with its capital in East Jerusalem.