Israel advances plans for 2,200 new settler homes

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities have advanced plans for nearly 2,200 settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, the Peace Now NGO said, the first such approvals since snap polls were called earlier this week.
A defence ministry committee with responsibility for such projects approved the plans, which are in various stages of the approval process, the settlement watchdog said in a statement.
It said 1,159 housing units were given final approvals before building permits can be issued, while 1,032 were at an earlier stage.
Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat decried in a statement “the theft of Palestinian land and resources for the illegal expansion of settlements as part of Netanyahu’s campaign. The move was “undoubtedly part of the long list of Israeli violations of international law”, he said.
Israeli settlements are considered illegal under international law and major roadblocks to peace, as they are built on land Palestinians see as part of their future state.
More than 400,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements, which range in size from tiny hamlets to large towns. A further 200,000 live in settlements in occupied east Jerusalem. — AFP