Israel is planning the construction of more than 2,000 new housing units in settlements in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli Civil Administration spokesperson Guy Inbar announced on Thursday.
The anti-settlement organisation Peace Now revealed that the Israeli Defence Ministry committee had already put forward new plans on 19 February to construct 694 units in Leshem, 290 units in Bet El and 31 units in the Almog settlement, meaning that the construction is only awaiting Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s approval.
The committee also published plans to construct an additional 839 housing units in Ariel, 350 units in Shvut Rachel and 65 units in the Shavei Shomron settlements, asking for public comments before further discussion in the committee.
Israel’s Channel 7 television, which is owned by Israeli settlers, confirmed that the Israeli Civil Administration had already approved constructing 1015 new housing units in the settlements of Leshem, Bet El and Almog, but that the construction is still awaiting final approval by Israel’s Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
The Civil Administration is an Israeli military unit acting as a governmental body in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Palestinians consider the illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be an obstacle to the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which resumed in July under US auspices with the aim of reaching a final agreement within nine months. The previous round of talks ended in October 2010 due to Israel’s continued settlement activities on Palestinian lands.