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Israeli defense minister to approve thousands of new illegal settlement units

May 25, 2018 2:14 P.M. (Updated: May 28, 2018 12:45 P.M.)
Avigdor Lieberman (File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in a statement on Thursday that he plans to seek approval for the construction of some 2,500 new illegal Israeli settler homes in the occupied West Bank.

Lieberman will seek approval from Israel’s Higher Planning Council of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) for the construction of 2,500 new housing units over the next year, including the immediate building of 1,400 housing units.

The 1,400 housing units will be distributed mainly between the following settlements: 400 units in Ariel, 460 in Maale Adumim, 15 in Kiryat Arba, 130 in Avnei Hefetz, 180 in Talmon, 160 in Kfar Etzion, and 60 in Halamish/Neve Tzuf.

“We committed to building in Judea and Samaria and we are fulfilling that commitment. In the coming months we will seek approval for thousands of additional housing units. We will promote building in all of Judea and Samaria, from the north to the south, in small communities and in large ones,” Lieberman said.

According to settlement watchdog Peace Now, in the year and a half since President Trump took office some 14,454 units in the West Bank has been approved, which is more than three times the amount that was approved in the year and half before his inauguration (4,476 units).

“The Netanyahu government is clearly continuing to take advantage of the carte blanche the Trump Administration has given it in order to destroy the chances for peace,” Peace Now said.

“It is well-known that for a two-state solution to be feasible Israel will have to withdraw from most of the West Bank, yet the government keeps raising the political cost of this redeployment and the evictions it will entail. By adding housing to settlements, the government shows total disregard for the two-state solution.”

Since the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis have moved into Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international law.

The estimated 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law.

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