The Israeli far-right government has given its approval for the construction of more than 5,000 new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a move that is likely to strain relations with the US and heighten tensions with the Palestinians.
The decision comes despite increasing criticism from the US regarding Israel’s settlement policies and amid a surge of violence in the occupied territory.
According to Israeli media reports, the Defense Ministry planning committee responsible for overseeing settlement construction has granted approval for approximately 5,700 new settlement homes. The units are in various stages of planning, and it remains unclear when construction will commence. Requests for comment from COGAT, the defense body overseeing the planning committee, have gone unanswered.
The international community, as well as the Palestinians, view settlement construction as illegal or illegitimate and a significant obstacle to achieving peace. Presently, over 700,000 Israelis reside in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories seized by Israel in 1967 and sought by the Palestinians for their future state.