Israel has pushed forward new plans for building 4,320 settlement homes in the occupied West Bank.
The High Planning Subcommittee of Israel’s Civil Administration, the body in charge of approving construction in the West Bank, said that the plans for building 2,684 housing units received final approvals, while those for building 1,636 units got initial approvals, reports Xinhua news agency.
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked welcomed the move on Twitter, saying it is “a happy day for the settlements”.
However, Peace Now, a Tel Aviv-based anti-settlement watchdog, slammed the arrangement as “a slap in the face, not only to the prospect of peace, but also to the possibility of some future Palestinian economic development”.
It said in a statement that the construction of “illegal settlements stands against the Israeli interests, and the only reason to approve these plans is a desire to please the right-wing parties.”
The controversial move comes amid heightened tensions between Israel and the Palestinians due to a series of deadly attacks and raids in the West Bank.
The Israeli settlements are located in the Palestinian territory of West Bank, which Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war and has controlled ever since.
Most of the international community considers the expansion of the settlements a violation of international law.