Israel has advanced plans for the construction of some 4,500 settler units in the occupied West Bank as the regime continues its illegal settlement expansion activities across the occupied Palestinian territories.
Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement organization, said on Thursday that the high planning committee of the so-called Israeli Civil Administration had given the final approval to a total of 4,427 units, including 2,791 housing units and initial endorsement for another 1,636 units.
"This is bad news for Israel and deepens the occupation, making it harder to achieve [the so-called] future peace," Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said, referring to the prospect of a so-called two-state solution that has so far been hindered due to Israel’s expansionist policy, among other atrocities against Palestinians.
“The approval of these construction plans in the settlements is a slap in the face, not only to the prospect of [the so-called] peace, but also to the possibility of some future Palestinian economic development."
Ofran also said it was “disappointing” that the regime was following the similar hostile policies of former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu against Palestinians.
Israeli interior minister Ayelet Shaked announced the plan to approve the new settlement units last week, drawing widespread condemnation from Palestinian factions and rights groups.
In the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, Bassam al-Salhe, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), called on Palestinians to "step up their struggle in the face of these settlement projects.”
He also called on the international community "to take deterrent action against Israel to compel it to stop settlement and its aggression against our Palestinian people.”
EU condemns Israel's approval of about 4,500 new settler units
Later on Thursday, the European Union condemned and deeply deplored Israel's approval of plans for building nearly 4,500 settler units in the occupied West Bank.
The EU made the remarks in a statement issued by its high representative and foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell.
“The European Union condemns and deeply deplores today’s approval, by Israeli authorities, of plans for advancing over 4,400 housing units, further expanding illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank, as well as the retroactive approval of three illegal outposts,” the statement said.
The EU urged “Israel to reverse such decisions, which run counter to international law; directly threaten the [so-called] two state solution; and are completely inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions.”
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.
All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land. The United Nations Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East al-Quds as its capital.
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014, with Israel’s continued settlement expansion emerging as a key sticking point.
The UN Security Council has in several resolutions condemned the Tel Aviv regime’s settlement projects in the occupied Palestinian lands.
Last May, Israel's land grab in the occupied West Bank sparked a war between the military and Palestinian resistance groups in the Gaza Strip that lasted 11 days. During the war, Israel’s relentless bombardment of Gaza killed over 250 Palestinians, including 66 children.