Israeli authorities have advanced plans for nearly 2,200 settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, an NGO and Israeli media said.
A defense ministry committee with responsibility for such projects on Tuesday and Wednesday approved the plans, the settlement watchdog Peace Now said in a statement.
It said 1,159 housing units were given final approvals before building permits can be issued, while 1,032 were at an earlier stage.
This week the Israeli authorities advanced plans for over 2000 settlement units across the West Bank. All settlement activity is illegal under international law and undermines the viability of the two state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace. https://t.co/CEh0fv4Yry
— Maja Kocijančič (@MajaEUspox) December 27, 2018
The Times of Israel website also reported the development, saying in total 2,191 settlement homes are expected to be advanced this week.
It is the first such approvals since snap polls were called earlier this week after the ruling right-wing government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu collapsed.
On Monday, Netanyahu agreed to dissolve parliament and call for early elections on April 9.
The settlements, which play an important role in Israel‘s right-wing politics, have surged under Netanyahu. Earlier on Wednesday, he met settler leaders in Jerusalem.
Christmas headlines from the Occupied Palestinian territories. In Bethlehem, Palestinian protestors demonstrate against Israeli settlements, Dec. 23, 2014#GroupPalestine#قروب_فلسطيني
Read: https://t.co/IPVN1ciBMA pic.twitter.com/wF0QlrzWj0
— If Americans Knew (@ifamericansknew) December 26, 2018
Speaking of the elections, he said:
“We’ll see an attempt by the left-wing to overthrow our rule with the help of the media and others … They can’t succeed, because if they do – that will pose a clear danger to the settlement movement.”
Jewish settlements have also long been viewed as a major roadblock to a viable Palestinian state.
They are considered a violation of international law and major stumbling blocks to peace efforts as they are built on land the Palestinian leaders want for their future state including occupied East Jerusalem.
"With politicians now entering campaign mode, Netanyahu met in Jerusalem on Wednesday with leaders of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and made his pitch for why they should stick with him."https://t.co/QiiWnjRZBZ
— Ben White (@benabyad) December 27, 2018
More than 400,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements, which range in size from tiny hamlets to large towns. A further 200,000 live in settlements in East Jerusalem.
There are some 400 settlements in the Palestinian territories captured by Israel in the 1967 war, built with or without government approval.
(AJE, PC, Social Media)