Israel approves new West Bank settlement units
The Israeli authorities on Thursday approved the construction of hundreds of new housing units for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, according to Israeli media reports.
"The plans that were approved involve construction of more than 200 homes in [the settlement of] Oranit and more than 50 in [the settlement of] Petzael in the Jordan Valley," Israeli daily Haaretz reported.
According to the newspaper, additional housing units were approved in the Ariel and Alfei Menashe settlements, both of which are located in the northern West Bank.
Haaretz went on to note that the Israeli authorities had also approved plans for "hundreds" of additional housing units in the West Bank settlements of Kfar Adumim and Givat Zeev.
Earlier this week, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed to approve the construction of some 2,500 new settlement units across the occupied West Bank.
According to Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now, the Israeli authorities approved the construction of 6,742 new settlement units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 2017 -- the highest number since 2013.
Roughly 500,000 Israelis currently live on more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built since Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.
The Palestinians want these areas -- along with the Gaza Strip -- for the establishment of a future Palestinian state.
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land as illegal.