Israel announced on Thursday that it intends to construct more illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in an apparent attempt to appease Israeli extremists who oppose the ongoing peace talks with the Palestinians.
Israeli local media reported that new construction bids are expected to be announced next week as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu aims to appease his government’s right-wing opposition over the scheduled release of the next group of Palestinian prisoners.
An Israeli official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that both the Americans and the Palestinians are aware of the proposed settlements. The official explained that, “according to an Israeli-Palestinian understanding that preceded the resumption of peace talks, Israel had always intended to announce a plan to expand the settlements in Jerusalem in the coming months.”
Neither side was immediately available comment.
The announcement comes one day after Prime Minister Netanyahu’s meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome, during which the two discussed the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli talks, among other issues.