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Israel approves 98 settler homes in West Bank

Under international law Israeli settlements in the West Bank are viewed as illegal [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 October, 2016

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In September Likud politicians pledged support to a legislation proposal that would retroactively legalise the construction of 2,000 homes.
An Israel-based watchdog on Saturday said that Israel had approved the construction of 98 settlers homes in the occupied West Bank.

Peace Now, who advocate for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said in a statement that while world leaders gathered in Jerusalem for the funeral of former Israeli statesman Shimon Peres, who died on Wednesday and was buried on Friday, "the Israeli government is creating another obstacle for the two-state solution by establishing a new settlement in the heart of the West Bank." 

According to the organisation, plans for the 98 new settler homes were approved by the Higher Planning Council of Judea and Samaria on Wednesday, and are set to be built as part of an unconstructed 300 unit project in the Shilo settlement, located in the neighbourhood of Shvuet Rachel.

Under international law Israeli settlements in east Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank are viewed as illegal. 

Earlier this year Israel’s supreme court ruled that the Amona settlement, close to Shilo, should be destroyed because they were constructed in 1995 without permits on private Palestinian land. The settlement is set to be razed, with a deadline of December 25 set.

The new project is partly intended, The Jerusalem Post reported, as an alternative relocation site for families from the Amona outpost. 

The Israeli government is creating another obstacle for the two-state solution by establishing a new settlement in the heart of the West Bank

In September Likud politicians pledged support to a legislation proposal that would retroactively legalise the construction of 2,000 homes, including those in the Amona outpost. 

Speaking to AFP Peace Now spokesman Hagit Ofran said that the plan for Shilo had been approved by Israel’s Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

"The government's decision to reward settlers who stole private Palestinian lands will make the rest of Israel's law-abiding citizens pay a heavy political price," the statement said.

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