Israel Advances Plans For Over 3,000 Settler Homes

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(FILES) This file photo taken on January 21, 2021, shows ongoing construction work in the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

 

Israel advanced plans for building more than 3,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, a military spokesman said, a day after the US forcefully criticised such construction.

The Civil Administration’s high planning committee gave the final green light to 1,800 homes and initial approval for another 1,344, a spokesman for the military body that oversees civilian matters in the Palestinian territories told AFP.

The approvals came a day after the United States criticised Israel for its policy of building settlements, with President Joe Biden’s administration saying it “strongly” opposed new construction on the West Bank.

His administration’s position on the matter stands in stark contrast to that of his predecessor Donald Trump, whose presidency saw the US offer a green light to Israel’s activity on occupied Palestinian land.

The homes approved on Wednesday were spread across the West Bank, from the suburbs of Jerusalem to new neighbourhoods of settlements deep inside the territory.

Israel’s housing ministry had separately on Sunday published tenders to build 1,355 new homes in the West Bank.

About 475,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the West Bank, which are considered illegal under international law, on land Palestinians claim as part of their future state.

Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem has continued under every Israeli government since 1967.

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