Israel is set to approve construction in the Jewish settlement in Hebron for the first time in 15 years, as part of a broader expansion of illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank.
It was reported late Sunday that almost 4,000 settlement housing units will be approved by Israeli authorities next week.
According to a report in Haaretz, "a significant portion" of the homes are to be built in colonies "located outside settlement blocs".
Haaretz states that "the most contentious construction plans the panel is set to approve are those for the Jewish settlement in Hebron and the isolated settlement of Negohot, located in the Southern Hebron Hills".
Such a step would be the first time since 2002 that Israel approves construction of settler homes in Hebron, the paper reports.
"The plan for Hebron includes the construction of 31 housing units near the Beit Romano compound", the paper notes. "The designated area was seized many years ago for military purposes. The military outpost there is slated to be relocated for the new housing units to be built".
In Negohot, meanwhile, "the panel is expected to approve the building of 102 housing units", and "in other settlements, such as Har Brakha, Rehelim and Ma'ale Mikhmas, the panel is expected to retroactively approve existing homes".
On Monday, Israel's Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan visited settlers in Hebron and referred to the construction plans.
"With God's help, next week the Israeli government will approve dozens of housing units here in Hebron. The Jewish community in Hebron will flourish and grow because our presence in Hebron is ultimately what enables us to hold onto Israel's heartland, Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]."