Israel has given the go ahead to the construction of more houses in the occupied West Bank amid the world’s calls for a complete freeze in such activities.
The Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved the construction of 37 additional units in the West Bank settlement of Karnei Shomron, Ynet reported on Wednesday.
The report came a day after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attended a tripartite summit with the US President Barack Obama and the Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the resumption of stalled Middle East peace negotiations which was formerly conditioned by the Palestinians on a total freeze in the expansion of Jewish settlements.
Earlier this month, Barak approved the construction of 455 other housing units in several settlements in the West Bank.
The decision was criticized by the Secretary-General of the anti-settlement Peace Now group, saying "The Israeli government is single-handedly destroying any chance for a peace agreement and jeopardizing our relations with the United States."
"Building housing units in Karnei Shomron — between (the West Bank towns of) Qalqilya and Nablus — is a historic mistake that damages the two-state vision," said Yariv Oppenheimer.
Israel has been insisting that the regime’s commitment to halt the construction work does not include what it calls natural growth. Israel had earlier promised to halt the expansion of Jewish settlements in the territory occupied in the Middle East wars.