It’s in a move that Palestinian officials decried as part of an “open war against the Palestinian people”.
The decision comes amid rising violence and growing us criticism of Israel’s settlement policies. The defence ministry planning committee on Monday gave approval for the units, which are at various stages of planning. The international community, along with the Palestinians, considers settlement construction in these areas illegal and an obstacle to peace.
More than 700 thousand Israelis currently live in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem territories – land captured by Israel in 1967 and sought by the Palestinians for a future state. Israel’s government, led by finance minister Bezalel Smotrich – an ultranationalist settler leader – has granted Smotrich cabinet level authority over the settlement policies. He has vowed to double the settler population in the occupied west bank.