Minister for Middle East's statement on Israeli settlement announcement

Gaza Strip

Israeli settler units to be built in occupied West Bank

Israeli authorities have advanced plans for almost 2,200 settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, the Peace Now NGO said Wednesday, the first such approvals since snap polls were called earlier this week. All Israeli settlements are illegal under worldwide law.

In a Thursday statement, Peace Now, a Tel Aviv-based NGO, said the Israeli authorities had approved construction of 2,191 new settlement units in East Jerusalem's Givat Zeev settlement.

Some 1,159 housing units have already been given final approval, while 1,032 buildings are at the first stage of the approval process. "They can't succeed, because if they do - that will pose a clear danger to the settlement movement".

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Israel is increasing its unlawful settlements in the occupied Palestinian lands regardless of the conviction from the global community because the regime is encouraged by Washington's "unequivocal support", states a political analyst.

"France condemns this decision, which expands settlement activity in the West Bank", the French foreign office said in a statement. A further 200,000 live in settlements in East Jerusalem. According to data from the Israeli Interior Ministry, the recognized settlements in the West Bank are at least 133 - in addition to a hundred "outposts" - and host about 500 thousand people, about 300 thousand Israelis live in East Jerusalem and 20 thousand in the Golan Heights.

While Israel's settlement projects have regularly drawn condemnation from the Palestinians and in Europe, the US administration under President Donald Trump has taken a largely uncritical public stand. The area, captured by Israel in 1967, is not sovereign Israeli territory, and Palestinians there are not Israeli citizens and do not have the right to vote.

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