Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Plan approved for 2,500 new settler homes in West Bank

Israel has approved a plan to construct 2,500 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, two days after the country accepted building permits for more than 500 settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement on Tuesday that he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed on the approval "in response to housing needs".

It is the largest recent settlement building plan announced by Israel, which came as the country's government feels emboldened by US President Donald Trump, who is not critical of illegal settlement activity, as opposed to his predecessor Barack Obama.

Lieberman said the majority of the housing units will be built in existing settlement blocs, areas where most settlers live and which Israel wants to keep under its control under any future peace deal with Palestinian officials.

Palestian officials have condemned Israel's latest plan for settlements, which are illegal under international law.

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