Israel approves plan to build 381 settler homes in West Bank

This was the third mass settlement construction permit issued by the Israel government in one month

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The Israeli government approved plans to build 381 settler homes in the West Bank, Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said on Tuesday.

“The Israeli civil administration, which falls under the defense ministry, has published plans for the construction of 381 extra units in Givat Zeev,” Lior Amihai, a Peace Now spokesman, told AFP.

The international community considers settlements built on land seized by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War to be illegal.

“This is the third time since the last phase of Palestinian prisoner releases that the government has approved plans for new houses,” added Amihai.

Israel approved plans to build 272 new homes in the West Bank settlements on Jan.6. Four days later, the government unveiled plans to build over 1,800 new units in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

This came after Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners on Dec. 31, part of U.S. brokered peace talks.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of using the peace talks as a “cover” to expand its settlements in the West Bank.

Xavier Abu Eid, adviser at the Negotiations Affairs Department (NAD) of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), told Al Arabiya News last month that the decision to carry on with settlement building showed a “lack of seriousness on the Israeli side.”

“[Israel] cannot say that it wants a two state solution and continue building on the land of Palestine,” Abu Eid added.

Several European countries summoned Israeli ambassadors this month to protest the continuous building of settlements where the Palestinians plan to establish their state.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the European move “hypocritical.”

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