Palestine seeks sanctions against Israel over new settlements

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Jerusalem : The Secretary-General of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, on Thursday urged the international community to impose sanctions against Israel for approving new West Bank settlement units.

On Wednesday, the Israeli authorities approved plans for 1,004 new housing units in the West Bank.

"The colonial-settlement expansion in occupied Palestine by the Israeli occupying power is not only a grave violation of international humanitarian law, but a war crime that would not be taking place if the international community did not treat Israel as a state above the law," Erekat said in a statement.

"It is long overdue time for the international community to impose sanctions on Israel until it recognizes and fulfils its obligations under international law and UN resolutions," Erekat was cited as saying by Efe news.

The Palestinian senior official went on to accuse the US of encouraging Israel "to continue with its violations of international law that threatens peace and security in our region".

Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now said on Wednesday that the Israeli government had approved plans for 10,536 West Bank settlement units since US President Donald Trump was elected.

Most of the international community considers the Israeli settlement construction an obstacle to peace and the two-state solution.