Status: 02/24/2023 1:35 PM

Despite mounting international criticism, Israel continues to build settlements: the government has approved 7,000 new apartments in the West Bank. The number of building permits this year is much higher than before.

Israel’s right-wing government has granted permits to build more than 7,000 new homes and apartments in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. This figure has been given by both supporters and critics of Israeli settlement construction.

International resistance to settlement expansion in the Palestinian territories is growing. Only recently, US diplomats said they had received assurances from Israel that they would refrain from unilateral action for six months.

Discussions about the E1 project next month

Peace Now, which opposes settlement construction, announced that a planning committee had issued permits for some 7,100 housing units across the West Bank. This was done in a two-day session that ended on Thursday. Another planning committee meeting is scheduled for next month, according to Peace Now, to consider developing an area of ‚Äč‚ÄčEast Jerusalem known as E1.

The United States has a history of blocking the E1 project, which would cut the West Bank in half. Critics said the opening would make it impossible to create a viable Palestinian state alongside Israel. About 5,200 housing units are still in the early planning stages, said Lior Amihai, future director of Peace Now; The go-ahead has been given for others to be built soon. Construction work has also been approved in four illegal outposts.

Since the new Israeli government took office last November, far more new settler apartments have been approved than in 2022 (4,427) and 2021 (3,645).

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criticism from the Security Council

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said this week that he promised not to allow any new settlement outposts in the West Bank. Ten settlements that were recently approved retroactively remained unaffected by the promise.

A few days ago, the UN Security Council issued a statement strongly criticizing the construction of Israeli settlements in areas claimed by the Palestinians. The United States, Israel’s closest ally, blocked a tougher and legally binding resolution. Diplomats said they had received assurances from Israel that it would refrain from unilateral action for six months.

Settler attacks in the West Bank

Violent clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians are common in the West Bank. The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported this afternoon that Israeli settlers shot and seriously injured two Palestinians. The two men were being treated in a hospital in the town of Al-Kazra, west of Nablus. An official in the Palestinian administration, Ghassan Douglas, said that a group of armed settlers from a nearby outpost stormed the village.

In the northern West Bank in particular, settlers have recently launched increasing attacks on Palestinians. Many villages in this area are located among unauthorized settlements and outposts. Last month, the Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, recorded a series of incidents near Nablus: settlers threw stones at Palestinians in Kasra, and Palestinian cars were set on fire in Aqraba. In early February, a settler shot and killed a Palestinian in the village of Salfit.

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