Japan slams Israel for 'legalizing' West Bank settlements

Japan slams Israel for 'legalizing' West Bank settlements

Tokyo urges Tel Aviv to withdraw decision, 'fully' freeze its settlement activities

By Aamir Latif

ANKARA (AA) - Japan on Wednesday slammed Israel for its decision to "legalize" settlement outposts in the West Bank, saying it violates "international law and undermine the viability of a two-state solution."

"With regard to the reported authorization by the government of Israel to legalize five outposts in the West Bank, the government of Japan is deeply concerned about and reiterates its deep regret over the continuing settlement activities by the government of Israel despite repeated calls by the international community, including Japan," a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Japan "strongly" urged Tel Aviv to withdraw the decision and "fully" freeze its settlement activities.

Tokyo also expressed its "serious" concern about the rise in extremist settler violence committed against Palestinians.

"The government of Japan condemns such violence and calls on the government of Israel to take appropriate measures to prevent violence by extremist settlers," the statement said.

"Japan once again calls for the need to refrain from actions that escalate tensions, including those in the West Bank, taking into account the critical humanitarian situations in the Gaza Strip," it concluded.

The Israeli Cabinet last week approved steps proposed by Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich aimed at "legalizing" settlement outposts in the West Bank and imposing sanctions on the Palestinian Authority.

Israel's official broadcasting authority KAN reported on Friday that the Security Cabinet approved Smotrich's plan to counter the Palestinian statehood recognition and actions against Israel in international courts.

The plan includes measures against the Palestinian Authority, the legalization of five settlement outposts in the West Bank, and the issuance of tenders for thousands of new housing units in settlements.

Additionally, the plan involves revoking permits and benefits for Palestinian officials, restricting their movement, and preventing senior officials from leaving the country.

It also includes measures such as removing executive powers from the Palestinian Authority in the southern West Bank, enforcing laws against unauthorized construction, and protecting heritage sites and environmental areas.

The areas designated as “Area B” in the West Bank fall under Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control.

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