Israel approves 2,500 West Bank settler homes
RAMALLAH - Israel has approved the construction of 2,500 settler homes in the occupied West Bank, officials said Tuesday, making good on promises to expand such building following the election of US President Donald Trump.
The plans, approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, marked the largest recent announcement of settlement building by Israel.
The defence ministry announced the plans in a statement, saying most of the homes would be located within large settlement blocks in the West Bank.
Around 100 are to be located in the settlement of Beit El near Ramallah, it said.
A Palestinian industrial zone near the West Bank city of Hebron was also approved.
Netanyahu spoke of the settlement approvals on Twitter.
"We are building and we will continue building," he said.
Trump has signalled strong support for Israel, and Israeli right-wing politicians have sought to take advantage, with hardliners calling for an end to the idea of a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu has said he still supports a two-state solution, but reportedly told ministers Sunday that all restrictions on building settlements in annexed east Jerusalem were being lifted.
He also said Sunday he plans to expand construction in large settlement blocks in the West Bank, Israeli media reported, and that he foresees eventually bringing all settlements under Israeli sovereignty.