Israel issues tenders for new settler homes

An official Israeli sign placed in the West Bank near the Israeli Beitar Illit (back) settlement states that the area is state land and trespassing is not allowed, near the Palestinian village of Wadi Fukin, on September 4, 2014. (Reuters)

Israel said Friday it published tenders for 283 new homes in a West Bank settlement, just days after announcing its biggest land grab on occupied Palestinian territory for three decades.

The expansion of the Elkana settlement, in the northwest of the West Bank, was approved in January and the tenders published Thursday, Israel’s Land Authority said on its website.

It came after Israel announced Sunday its biggest land grab in the West Bank since the 1980s, saying it planned to expropriate 400 hectares (988 acres) of land in the south of the territory, between the cities of Bethlehem and Hebron.

That move drew international condemnation, even from ally the United States and some Israeli cabinet ministers.

The U.S. State Department urged Israel to “reverse this decision,” and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he was “alarmed” by Israel’s plans.

Israel’s settlement building, which is illegal under international law, is seen as an obstacle to any lasting peace with the Palestinians, who want their future state to be on land much of which Israel has annexed or built settlements on.

Last Update: Friday, 05 September 2014 KSA 12:54 - GMT 09:54