UN, Jordan, France Slam Normalization Decision

April 24, 2012  

France and Jordan rushed on Tuesday to condemn Israel’s decision to normalize the status of three communities in Judea and Samaria.

The communities of Rechilim, Bruchin, and Sansana were built in the 1990’s with government approval.

The Foreign Ministry in Paris issued a statement that the move “sends a negative message, which is an obstacle to peace.”

According to France, all Israeli construction in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem is illegal.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh also condemned Israel for “legalization of three settlements and unilateral activity.”

Later on Tuesday, United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon said he is “deeply troubled” by Israel’s decision to authorize the communities, which were built on state land with government approval, but lacked crucial paperwork.

“The Secretary-General is disappointed that such a decision comes at a time of renewed efforts to restart dialogue,” a statement read.

Nonetheless, a special Ministerial team appointed by the government to determine the status of Israel’s community in Judea and Samaria decided last Tuesday to regulate the three communities.

In the case of Sansana, the planning commission of the IDF Civil Administration which administers Judea and Samaria had tried in February to overrule the approval of Defense Minister Ehud Barak for the settlement.

The United Nations – and France and Jordan – regard Israel as an ‘occupying power’ in Judea and Samaria who is proscrobed from developing and settling the region. Israel, which has formally annexed eastern Jerusalem, regards Judea and Samaria as ‘disputed territory’ on which no such restriction exists.

The matter has never been decided by a competent international court.

A statement by the Prime Minister’s Office this evening said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, along with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Minister without portfolio Benny Begin, and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe “Bogie” Ya’alon decided to legalize the status of these communities “on the basis of previous government decisions.”

Observers note that Barak’s stance on Israel’s communities in Judea and Samaria appears erratic at best. He has previously moved to destroy Yesha communities with government approval like Migron – or evict Jewish families from homes they have legally purchased in the absence of a court decision while citing the “rule of law,” like Beit Hamachpelah in Hevron.

Yet, in others like Sansana and Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood, he has followed the Netanyahu government’s policy of seeking ways to normalize the status of communities in order to preserve them.

Officials say France and Jordan’s condemnation of Israel’s move to continue settling its ancestral heartland were expected. Such condemnations from the United States and European Union are also expected.

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