Israel OKs Palestinian homes after advancing settlements
The Israeli government says it is adopting a "moderate approach" with the aim of minimising friction with the U.S. — which is opposed to settlements — and tensions within its ruling coalition, which includes parties from across the political spectrum.
Settlement construction in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law, but Israel has not stopped building them.
The Palestinians and rights groups say the newly authorised homes meet only a small fraction of the need in the 60% of the West Bank that is under full Israeli control. Military permits for Palestinian construction are rarely granted and structures are often demolished.
An Israeli security official confirmed the approval of the Palestinian housing, saying it authorised existing homes and gave permission to build new ones, without providing a breakdown. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war, and the Palestinians want it to form the main part of their future state. Today, the territory is home to more than 2.5 million Palestinians and nearly 500,000 Jewish Israeli settlers.
The Palestinians say the continuous expansion of settlements since 1967 has made it virtually impossible to establish a viable state alongside Israel. A two-state solution is still seen internationally as the only realistic way of resolving the decades-old conflict.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is a strong supporter of the settlements and is opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state.
President Joe Biden's administration has expressed opposition to the expansion of settlements, saying it undermines efforts to eventually revive the peace process. Israel and the Palestinians have not held substantive negotiations in more than a decade.