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The New Arab

Israel approves nearly 2,000 new illegal settlement homes across Palestine

Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 January, 2020

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Israel has approved nearly 2,000 illegal settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israel has approved the construction of nearly 2,000 new illegal settler homes in Palestine, a watchdog has said.

According to Peace Now activist group, Israel approved 1,936 illegal settlements on Sunday and Monday. It added that there will be a 89 percent of the new settlements erected in areas that "Israel may have to evacuate under a future peace agreement with the Palestinians".

The watchdog says settlement building has vastly increased under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has strong political backing from US President Donald Trump.

Netanyahu is fighting for his political survival faced following charges of corruption were made against him, and after failing to form a new coalition government two elections.

The premier, who was indicted in November on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, is now facing a third general election in March.

"Despite lacking a clear mandate, for this caretaker government it's business as usual - continue the massive promotion of harmful and unnecessary construction in occupied territory and in places that Israel will have to evacuate," said Peace Now in a statement.

"Netanyahu continues to sabotage the prospects of peace, dragging Israel into an anti-democratic one-state reality resembling apartheid."

Read also: What Prince Charles won't see when he visits Israel

According to Peace Now, 1,150 of the units were approved for "deposit" or phase one of the planning process.

A total of 786 units received final endorsement, including 258 that are to be built in Haresha, an "illegal outpost" west of the city of Ramallah on the West Bank, the watchdog said.

Israel occupied the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the Six-Day War of 1967 in a move never recognised by the international community.

Its settlements are deemed illegal under international law and widely seen as the main obstacle to peace.

Some 600,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem among around 2.9 million Palestinians.

Late last year, the Trump administration said it would no longer consider Israeli settlements in Palestine illegal.

According to Peace Now, the number of new settler homes approved by Israel has almost doubled since Trump took office in January 2017.



Agencies contributed to this report.

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