Israel to approve 1,200 settlement homes in West Bank Published: Thu, 11-January-2018

Israel is set to approve the construction of more than one thousand settlement units in the occupied West Bank, the defense ministry said.

"The defense minister will on Wednesday present for approval by the Higher Planning Council an immediate construction plan for 2018 of 1,285 housing units in Judea and Samaria," the defense ministry said in a statement, referring to the West Bank.

Avigdor Lieberman, the defense minister, said he will seek the approval of Israeli authorities on building a further 2,500 units in 20 different locations.

The Higher Planning Council meets several times a year to study and approve settlement construction projects.

There was no immediate response from Palestinian officials.

Last June, Lieberman said that plans in 2017 had been advanced for 8,345 homes in the occupied West Bank, including 3,066 slated for "immediate construction".

Peace Now, an Israeli non-governmental organization that is opposed to settlements, announced that 6,742 construction units were approved in the settlements in 2017, the highest since 2013.

In 2016, the number was 2,629 units.

Settlements are illegal under international law and are considered major stumbling blocks to the resumption of negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, which have been stalled since April 2014.

To date, there are 600,000 settlers in the occupied West Bank and East Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

On Tuesday, an Israeli settler residing in the Israeli settlement outpost of Havat Gilad, near Nablus, was shot in a drive-by shooting.

The settler, a 35-year-old rabbi, later died in hospital in Tel Aviv. The Israeli army declared the area southwest of Nablus a military zone and carried out raids in the Palestinian villages of Tell and Sarra, in search of suspects.

Source: Al Jazeera