Israeli officials have advanced plans for the construction of more than 2,300 settlement homes in West Bank, as Israel presses ahead with its land expropriation policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The Israeli non-governmental organization Peace Now, which monitors settlement activity in the West Bank, said in a statement on Tuesday that the so-called Higher Planning Committee, which is affiliated to the Israeli ministry of military affairs, had issued approvals for 2,304 housing units while meeting over the past couple of days.
“The approval of settlement plans is part of a disastrous … policy designed to prevent the possibility of peace and a two-state solution, and to annex part or all of the West Bank,” the statement read.
Last week, Israeli officials approved the construction of 6,000 new settler homes in the West Bank’s Area C, where the Israeli army has full control over the management of resources, planning and construction, and strictly limits Palestinian construction or development to less than one percent of the area.
Area C accounts for more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank, and would form a significant part of a future Palestine state under the so-called two-state solution.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council in December 2016 adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem”.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.
Trump backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” in 2017, saying he would support any solution favored by both sides.
“Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” the US president said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on February 15, 2017.