By Anees Suheil Barghoti
RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA): Israeli authorities late Wednesday approved the construction of hundreds of new Jewish settlement units in Israeli-occupied West Bank, Israeli media reported.
According to Israeli Walla news site the Israeli civil administration’s supreme committee approved 1,162 new units in various areas in the West Bank.
“As part of the plan, the committee approved the establishment of a new neighborhood in ‘Shvut Rachel’ settlement located in northern Jerusalem,” it said.
“The neighborhood was initially prepared to accommodate the Jewish settlers who were evacuated from the outpost Amona last week,” the Israeli news site added.
On Monday evening, the Knesset (Israeli parliament) retroactively legalized Jewish-only outposts built on Palestinian land in the West Bank, which are considered illegal under international law. The UN on Tuesday slammed the bill.
The bill comes amid heightened anxiety in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after a new U.S. administration under President Donald Trump took office last month.
Since Trump was sworn in, Israel has announced three separate settlement plans that allows for thousands more housing units the UN and the international community deem illegal.
According to official figures, the Israeli authority has approved the construction of more than 7,250 settlement units in Israeli occupied East Jerusalem and West Bank since the beginning of 2017.
Roughly 500,000 Israelis now live in more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built since Israel occupied the Palestinian 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.
[Photo: Protesters take part in the ‘Justice now – Stand up for Palestine’ demonstration in London, United Kingdom on February 06, 2017. Photographer: Muhabiri Kate Green/AA]