Israeli Minister of Army, Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday said that he would ask the planning committee to approve the construction of 2,500 settlement units in the occupied West Bank.
“The new 2,500 units, which we will approve in the Planning Committee next week, are on hold for immediate construction in 2018,” Lieberman said in a statement.
The Planning Committee is expected to advance plans for an additional 1,500 units in 30 settlements; these include Ariel (400 units), Maale Adumin (460 units), Ma’ale Efrayim (45 units), Kiryat Arba (150 units), Alfei Menashe (40 units), Avnei Hefetz (130 units), Hinanit (80 units), Halamish (60 units), Talmon (180 units), Neve Daniel (170 units), Kfar Etzion (160 units), Tene-Omarim (130 units), and Elkana (250 units), among others.
Lieberman also said on twitter that he would also seek the committee’s approval for the construction of another 1,400 settlement units at a later stage.
PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi strongly denounced such plans and issued the following statement:
“Israel’s declared intention to build thousands of illegal settler units in the occupied West Bank discloses the real nature of Israeli colonialism, expansionism and lawlessness. Undoubtedly, Israel is deliberately working to enhance its extremist Jewish settler population and to superimpose ‘Greater Israel’ on all of historic Palestine.
It is evident that the recent provocative and unlawful moves adopted by the United States, Guatemala and Paraguay have emboldened Israel to move forward with enhancing its illegal settlement enterprise, thereby finalizing the total annexation of the occupied West Bank.
Furthermore, such egregious policies affirm the imperative need for the International Criminal Court to open an immediate criminal investigation into Israel’s flagrant violations of international law and conventions.
We appeal to the entire international community to undertake serious and concrete measures to bring about a full cessation of all settlement activities and to hold Israel accountable with punitive measures and sanctions before it is too late.”
Some 500,000 Israeli settlers illegally live in West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements, which are illegal under international law.