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Israel plans 2,500 new settlement homes in occupied West Bank

Israel announced plans for 2,500 more settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, the second such declaration since US President Donald Trump took office

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Israel announced plans on Tuesday for 2,500 more settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, the second such declaration since US President Donald Trump took office signaling he would be less critical of such projects than his predecessor.

A statement from the Defense Ministry, which administers lands Israel captured in a 1967 war, said the move was meant to fulfil demand for new housing “to maintain regular daily life.”

Most of the construction, it said, would be in existing settlement blocs that Israel intends to keep under any future peace agreement with the Palestinians. However, a breakdown provided by the prime minister’s office showed large portions of the planned homes would be outside existing blocs.

About 350,000 settlers live in the West Bank and a further 200,000 in East Jerusalem, which Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war. Beyond the major blocs, most of which are close to the border with Israel, there are more than 100 settlement outposts scattered across hilltops in the West Bank.

The Palestinians, who had no immediate comment on Tuesday’s announcement, want the West Bank and Gaza Strip, from which Israeli troops and settlers withdrew in 2005, for an independent state, with its capital in East Jerusalem.

Most countries consider settlements illegal and an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace as they reduce and fragment the territory Palestinians need for a viable state.