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Israel approves more than 1,100 new West Bank settlement

AFP  |  Jerusalem 

Israeli authorities have approved more than 1,100 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, the Now said today, the latest in a raft of such moves in recent months.

The approvals were given on Wednesday by a defence ministry committee with authority over settlement construction.

Some 352 of the homes received final approval, while the others are at an earlier stage in the process, Hagit Ofran of Now, which monitors settlement building, told AFP.

A total of 1,122 housing units were advanced, including seven already existing homes given retroactive approval.

According to Ofran, the majority of the approvals are for settlements deep in the West that would likely need to evacuate as part of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"It's a part of the general trend that the is doing, which is to build all over the West Bank, even more in places that would need to evict, and in this way to torpedo the possibility for a two-state solution," she said.

A shooting that killed an Israeli settler on Tuesday in the West led to fresh calls for further settlement building, though the plans approved on Wednesday were already in the works.

According to Now, 6,742 housing projects were approved in the settlements last year, the highest figure since 2013.

Israeli settlements are seen as illegal under international law and major obstacles to peace as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.

Prominent members of Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing openly oppose Palestinian statehood.

faced sharp criticism from the administration of former US over settlement construction, but that has not been the case with US Donald Trump's and Israeli officials have sought to take advantage of his backing.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, January 11 2018. 15:10 IST