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Israel approves construction of hundreds of new settler units in central West Bank

This file picture shows a view of the illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat in the occupied West Bank, where the Tel Aviv regime plans to build more residences for settlers. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli authorities have approved plans for the construction of hundreds of new settler units in the central part of West Bank, irrespective of the international outcry against the Tel Aviv regime’s land grab policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian Information Center reported that the units will be built in Efrat settlement, located 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) south of al-Quds, at the expense of illegal confiscation of Palestinian-owned lands south of Bethlehem.

The report added that the plan also includes the establishment of a new settlement with 7,000 units in Bethlehem.

Earlier, the Israeli Supreme Court had thrown out an appeal submitted by Palestinians to prevent the settlement expansion plan, which will seize 1,200 dunams (296.5 acres) of land in Khallet al-Nahla area of Wadi Rahal village, south of Bethlehem.

Moreover, the Palestinian Wall and Settlements Resistance Commission said Israeli authorities had given the green light for the expropriation of Palestinian lands near the central West Bank city of Salfit.

The commission said the so-called Israeli Civil Administration ordered the confiscation of more than 360 dunams (nearly 89 acres) of land in the city of Biddya and Kafr ad-Dik town, located 9.5 kilometers (5.9 miles) west of Salfit.

The Wall and Settlements Resistance Commission highlighted that the measure will pave the way for Israeli officials to proceed with expanding the illegal Tal Shahrit outpost built in the area.

Emboldened by former US president Donald Trump’s all-out support, Israel has stepped up its illegal settlement construction activities in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounced settlements in the West Bank and East al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law.”

Much of the international community regards the Israeli settler units in the occupied lands as illegal.

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. The UN 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 state with East al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued illegal settlement expansion.

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