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PLO calls for international action over Israeli settlements

Erekat says Israel has been emboldened encouragement from Trump [Getty]

Date of publication: 24 January, 2017

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Israel must face international action over a major expansion of settlement building, Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary general Saeb Erekat has said.

Israel must face international action over a major expansion of settlement building that was announced on Tuesday following US President Donald Trump's inauguration, a top Palestinian official said.

"The international community must hold Israel accountable immediately for what it is doing," Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary general Saeb Erekat told AFP.

He added that Israel had been emboldened by "what they consider encouragement by American President Donald Trump."

His comments come as Israel approved the construction of 2,500 settler homes in the occupied West Bank.

The plans, approved by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, marked the largest recent announcement of settlement building by Israel.

The defence ministry announced the plans in a statement, saying most of the homes would be located within large settlement blocks in the West Bank.

Around 100 are to be located in the settlement of Beit El near Ramallah, it said.

A Palestinian industrial zone near the West Bank city of Hebron was also approved.

Netanyahu spoke of the settlement approvals on Twitter.

"We are building and we will continue building," he said.

Trump has signalled strong support for Israel, and Israeli right-wing politicians have sought to take advantage, with hardliners calling for an end to the idea of a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu has said he still supports a two-state solution, but reportedly told ministers on Sunday that all restrictions on building settlements in annexed east Jerusalem were being lifted.

He also said Sunday he plans to expand construction in large settlement blocks in the West Bank, Israeli media reported, and that he foresees eventually bringing all settlements under Israeli sovereignty.

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