News   /   Palestine

Israel approves thousands of new units in West Bank settlement

The photo, taken on February 20, 2020, shows a view of the Israeli settlement of Har Homa in the Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds. (By AFP)

The Israeli minister for military affairs, Naftali Bennett, has approved a plan for the construction of thousands of new settler units in the occupied West Bank, ignoring the international outcry against the Tel Aviv regime’s illegal settlement expansion activities and land grab policies in Palestinian territories.

On Wednesday, Bennett granted the green light for the expansion of the Efrat settlement, located 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) south of Jerusalem al-Quds, by about 275 acres (1.11 square kilometers), when he endorsed the plan for some 7,000 new housing units in the 11,000-resident municipality, Israeli English-language daily newspaper the Jerusalem Post reported.

“This morning, I approved the construction of thousands of new housing units in Efrat in Gush Etzion. I instructed the defense establishment to continue to strengthen the settlement resolutely. The construction momentum … must not be stopped for even a moment,” Bennett announced on his Facebook page earlier in the day.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates condemned the Israeli plan.

“Such Israeli decisions constitute an utter disregard for the international law and a flagrant defiance of the international outcry against Israeli settlement construction activities and the potential annexation plan,” the ministry said in a statement.

It added, “Such settlement construction approvals also constitute an act of disrespect for international warnings that increased settlement construction activities and possible annexation of parts of the West Bank would gravely threaten regional stability, and would undermine the prospects for the (so-called) two-state solution.”

“Israel is clearly exploiting the international preoccupation with the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic and blatant US bias in favor of its expansionist policies to further expropriate Palestinian lands.”

The development took place only three days after the senior Israeli official approved the expropriation of Palestinian-owned land and property in the southern occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil to construct an elevator and a ramp to facilitate the entry of Jewish settlers to the Ibrahimi Mosque, without the agreement of the city hall.

The Arab League on Tuesday condemned the Israeli regime’s final green light to create a new route in the vicinity of the mosque.

In a statement, the regional organization’s Assistant Secretary General for Palestine and Occupied Arab Territories Saeed Abu Ali, said the plan aims to facilitate the storming and “Judaization” of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the city.

This decision is “part of Israel's escalation” against the Palestinian religious and historical monuments in Jerusalem al-Quds and al-Khalil, he added.

The top Arab League official then called on the international community and the United Nations to exert pressure on Israel to immediately halt any activities or plans, which could lead to further deterioration of the difficult situation in the occupied Palestinian territories.

In 2017, UNESCO recognized the Ibrahimi Mosque as an endangered Palestinian heritage site.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku