Israel announces plans for thousands of new homes in West Bank

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: May 07, 2020, 01:43 AM IST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the General Assembly at the United Nations on September 22, 2016 in New York City. Photograph:(Getty)

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The move comes after Washington voiced readiness to back de facto Israeli annexations there.

Israel on Wednesday announced a plan for thousands of new Jewish settlement homes in the occupied West Bank.

The move comes after Washington voiced readiness to back de facto Israeli annexations there.

The United States has offered to recognise Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank as part of a proposal President Donald Trump unveiled in February, which also envisages talks on founding a Palestinian state in up to 70% of the territory.

"Sovereignty in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Valley is an Israeli decision. We are ready," the newspaper Israel Hayom quoted US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman as saying.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to start cabinet discussions on July 1 about declaring Israeli sovereignty over the settlements and the strategically important Jordan Valley in the West Bank.

Fresh construction for the settlement of Efrat was approved on land that could accommodate "around 7,000 housing units", Defence Minister Naftali Bennett's office said in a statement.

"The building momentum in the country must not be stopped, even for a second," tweeted Bennett, a religious-nationalist in Netanyahu's current caretaker government.

The settlements are deemed illegal by most world powers and condemned by the Palestinians, who see all the West Bank, which Israel captured in a 1967 war, as theirs for a future state.

The Palestinians say the plan is biased against them, and have boycotted Washington's mediation efforts since it recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital in late 2017.

"The Trump Administration's Annexation plan endorses everything that the illegal Israeli colonial-settlement enterprise is about: A racist narrative, violations of international law and the perpetuation of the denial of Palestinian rights," Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said.