Israel’s defense minister said on Thursday he plans to seek approval next week for the construction of some 2,500 new homes in the occupied West Bank, prompting Palestinian condemnation.
Avigdor Lieberman, writing on Twitter, said a regional planning board would be asked to designate 1,400 of the housing units for immediate construction.
“We will promote building in all of Judea and Samaria, from the north to south, in small communities and in large ones,” Lieberman said.
He issued the announcement two days after the Palestinians asked prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to launch a full investigation into accusations of Israeli human rights abuses on Palestinian territory.
Settlements are one of the most heated issues in efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, frozen since 2014.
Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, areas that are also home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians. Palestinians have long argued that Israeli settlements could deny them a viable and contiguous state.
Reuters and Algemeiner Staff