Creating new perspectives since 2009

Israel approves plans for record of over 5,700 illegal residences in occupied West Bank

June 28, 2023 at 1:47 pm

Israeli settlers gather in an attempt to reestablish an illegal settlement outpost on January 22, 2023 [GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel on Tuesday approved plans for over 5,700 more illegal Jewish residences in the occupied West Bank, raising the total this year to a record of over 13,000, authorities announced, reports Anadolu Agency.

A Defense Ministry planning committee on West Bank settlement construction gave the green light for building around 5,700 new residences in six months, while retroactively legalising three settlements that are illegal internationally and under Israeli law.

The decision included final approval for 818 new residences in illegal settlements such as Elkana, Revava, Givat Ze’ev, Carmel, and Harmesh.

‘Annexation coup’

According to Peace Now, an Israeli non-governmental organisation tracking settlement plans since 2012, Israel approved the most residences in 2023, exceeding the previous record of 12,159 in 2020.

“The approval of nearly 5,700 housing units today and over 13,000 in the first half of this year alone should make it clear that the government is rushing headlong towards an annexation coup, turning Israel into an apartheid state,” said the statement by Peace Now.

It added that this had turned Israel “into an apartheid state.”

Palestinian reaction

“The construction of new housing serves as a reward for far-right Israeli Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich, Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, their allies, and their terrorist supporters,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry in response to Israel’s move.

New residences allow Israel’s far-right to expand bases of Jewish unlawful activities in the West Bank and escalate attacks on defenceless Palestinians, said the statement released on Monday.

Israel’s decision was described as a “grave assault” on international legitimacy, disregarding the stance of the international community and the US, both of which reject the presence of settlements, the statement added.

Estimates indicate about 700,000 Israeli settlers live in roughly 300 illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Under international law, all Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal.

READ: Israel injures 2 Palestinians, detains 6 including journalist in West Bank