- Title: Israel plans 2,500 new settlement homes in occupied West Bank
- Date: 24th January 2017
- Summary: EFRAT, WEST BANK (FILE) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF EFRAT SETTLEMENT VARIOUS OF HOUSING UNITS ARIEL, WEST BANK (FILE) (REUTERS) ROAD LEADING TO ARIEL SETTLEMENT SIGN OF SETTLEMENT ARIEL SHOT OF SETTLEMENT
- Embargoed: 7th February 2017 16:20
- Keywords: Israel West Bank settlements
- Location: RAMALLAH / EFRAT / ARIEL, WEST BANK
- City: RAMALLAH / EFRAT / ARIEL, WEST BANK
- Country: Palestinian Territories
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA00260FYVRB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Israel announced plans on Tuesday (January 24) for 2,500 more settlement homes in the occupied West Bank.
It is the second such declaration by Israel since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, signalling he would be less critical of such projects than his predecessor.
A statement from the Defence Ministry, which administers lands Israel captured in a 1967 war, said the move was meant to fulfil demand for new housing "to maintain regular daily life".
Most of the construction, it said, would be in existing settlement blocs that Israel intends to keep under any future peace agreement with the Palestinians. However, a breakdown provided by the prime minister's office showed large portions of the planned homes would be outside existing blocs.
About 350,000 settlers live in the West Bank and a further 200,000 in East Jerusalem, which Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war. Beyond the major blocs, most of which are close to the border with Israel, there are more than 100 settlement outposts scattered across hilltops in the West Bank.
Senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Wasel Abu Yousef, condemned the Israeli announcement.
During the U.S. election campaign, Trump indicated he would dispense with former President Barack Obama's opposition to settlement building.
On Sunday, two days after Trump's inauguration, Israel announced plans for hundreds of new homes in East Jerusalem, and the right-wing Netanyahu told senior ministers he was lifting restrictions on settlement construction across the board.
It was not immediately clear whether Tuesday's announcement was the first in relation to the new construction. There are several stages involved in approving and building settlement homes and announcements frequently overlap or are reissued.
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