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Reports: Israel approves construction of 1,162 settlement units in West Bank

Image of Jewish settlement [ Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]
An illegal Israeli settlement built on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]

Israel reportedly approved the construction of 1,162 settlement units on Wednesday, to be built in the occupied West Bank, according to Hebrew news website Walla.

Walla reported that Israel's higher planning council on settlement activity, which is affiliated with the Israeli civil administration, approved the new 1,162 settlement units, including units in a new settlement near the existing Shvut Rachel settlement in the northern West Bank district of Nablus.

The new settlement adjacent to Shvut Rachel was initially planned to be built to house residents of the now evacuated illegal Amona outpost – an offer refused by the Amona settlers.

Read: 'At least 60,000 anti-Arab Facebook posts in 2016,' says Israeli NGO

A spokesperson for the Israeli civil administration was not immediately available for comment.

It remained unclear as of yesterday whether or not the 1,162 units were part of the more than 6,000 housing units to have been approved for construction in occupied East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank by the Israeli government since the beginning of 2017.

Israel's Knesset passed into law the contested outpost "Regularisation bill" on Monday, granting official Israeli governmental recognition to more than a dozen illegal settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank established on private Palestinian lands, as observers warned of the potentially disastrous effects of such legislation on Palestinians and on hopes of a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Read: Israel approves 181 settlement units in Jerusalem

As it stands, the law would affect the status of 16 outposts, although Israeli media reports indicated that more could be included in the future.

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