Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party approves a plan to continue illegal settlement expansion on occupied Palestinian lands.
The approval came after hundreds of Likud’s Central Committee members debated the motion on Thursday that supports settlement construction in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and West Bank.
Israeli lawmaker Danny Danon said Likud is committed to expanding settlements after Netanyahu’s announced 10-month freeze ends in September.
The hawkish prime minister ordered the freeze on new construction in November 2009 after international pressures demanded full freeze on illegal construction and the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.
Israel’s Peace Now movement, which monitors settlement growth, says settlement construction never actually slowed because of the high number of settlement approvals ahead of the announced freeze.
The Palestinians have sharply criticized the settlements, which expanded in scope and size after the Likud came to power under Menachem Begin in 1977, as an impediment to peace.