Israel announces 2,500 settlement homes in occupied West Bank

London [UK]: Israel in a defiant move has approved a massive new building programme of Jewish settlement homes in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The move is in opposition to the recently passed UN resolution that stated Israel’s establishment of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, had no legal validity, constituting a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the vision of two states.

Israel’s move comes as it rushes to exploit what they see as a pro-Israel and pro-settlement U.S. administration, reports the Guardian.

The announcement of 2,500 new housing units in the West Bank is one of the largest in years.

The decision approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman will further increase tensions with Palestinians and the wider Middle East, already high over the Trump administration’s proposal to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the move would have “consequences”.

“The decision will hinder any attempt to restore security and stability; it will reinforce extremism and terrorism and will place obstacles in the path of any effort to start a peace process that will lead to security and peace,” he added.

Although the Israeli Government said the majority of new homes would be built in “major settlement blocs”, which Israel wants to keep as part of any eventual peace settlement, a number will be built in controversial hard line settlements, including Beit El.

A day earlier, Netanyahu had told his security cabinet that he was also lifting all restrictions on Israeli construction in occupied East Jerusalem.

That followed the approval on Sunday by the Jerusalem municipality of hundreds of new homes in East Jerusalem. (ANI)