RAMALLAH, Palestine

Israel is racing against time to build new settlements before US President Donald Trump leaves the White House, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said Monday.

Speaking during a weekly cabinet meeting, Shtayyeh warned of “grave consequences” of the Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli authorities on Sunday announced plans to build 1257 new settlement units in east Jerusalem. The move came days after Israel approved on Thursday the construction of 108 housing units in the Ramat Shlomo settlement in the occupied city.

Shtayyeh described a planned visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Israeli settlements in the West Bank next week as a “violation of the rights of the Palestinian people”.

“This visit will not give any legitimacy to the Zionist colonies and we call on the world to stand against this visit and take additional steps to ban goods from Israeli settlements,” he said.

According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Israeli government plans to approve thousands of settlement units in east Jerusalem as a pre-emptive step before the inauguration of US President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20, 2021.

Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris stated in their electoral campaign that they would abide by the two-state solution to solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a solution that contradicts Israeli settlement activity and Israeli plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is regarded as an “occupied territory” under international law, making all Jewish settlements there illegal.

*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara

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