Israel prepares to approve 4,000 settler units in the occupied West Bank | Occupied West Bank News

If passed, it would be the biggest advance in illegal settlement plans since US President Joe Biden took office.

Israel is ready to advance plans for the construction of 4,000 illegal settler homes in the occupied West Bank, the interior minister said.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, a staunch supporter of settlements, wrote in a tweet on Friday that a planning committee would meet next week to approve 4,000 homes, calling construction in the West Bank “basic, necessary and obvious.” .

The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that the Civil Administration, a military body, would meet on Thursday to advance 1,452 units, with another 2,536 units to be approved by Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

Israeli settlements are fortified Jewish-only housing complexes built on Palestinian land in violation of international law. Between 600,000 and 750,000 Israeli settlers live in at least 250 illegal settlements in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.

If passed, it would be the biggest advance in settlement plans since US President Joe Biden took office. The White House opposes settlement growth because it further erodes the possibility of an eventual two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides was quoted by local media on Friday as saying that the Biden administration has repeatedly made it clear to Israel over the past week that it strongly opposes any further settlement expansion activity.

The move comes ahead of a planned visit by Biden to Israel, scheduled for June.

Issa Amro, a Palestinian activist and founder of the NGO Youth Against Settlements, told Al Jazeera that the approval of 4,000 new settler homes would mean “more violence by Israeli settlers towards Palestinians in the West Bank” and more “restrictions and apartheid policies.” ”. imposed on the Palestinians.

“It is an indicator that Israel is violating international law with impunity and without accountability, and it shows that the international community is using double standards with Israel,” Amro said.

He added that the move also makes Palestinians feel “more disappointed and hopeless” towards the Biden administration.

Israel approved the construction of 3,000 settler homes in October despite another rebuke from the United States. However, authorities have halted some particularly controversial projects in the wake of strong US opposition.

Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has continued under every Israeli government since Israel captured the territories in the 1967 Middle East war.

However, construction accelerated in recent years under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with a significant boom under the US Trump administration, which Palestinians accused of having a strong pro-Israeli bias.

Settler attacks on Palestinians and their property are frequent in the West Bank, home to nearly three million Palestinians.

The Palestinian leadership wants the West Bank as part of a future state and sees the illegal settlements as a major obstacle to any potential deal.

Earlier this year, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has followed a policy of establishing and maintaining a “majority Jewish demographic,” Amnesty said. Israel also exercises complete control over land and resources to benefit Israeli Jews, including those in illegal settlements.

Additional reporting by Farah Najjar.

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