View shows the Israeli settlement of Har Homa in the Israeli-occupied West Bank View shows the Israeli settlement of Har Homa in the Israeli-occupied West Bank 

Israel moves ahead with plans for 3,000 settler homes in West Bank

Israel went ahead with plans to build some 3,000 homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, defying the Biden administration's strongest criticism to date of such developments.

By Vatican News staff reporter

An Israeli planning committee has given the preliminary go-ahead for the construction of 1,344 housing units and the final approval for 1,800 homes in the occupied West Bank.

It’s a move that has caused friction with Washington.

The United States said on Tuesday it was "deeply concerned" about Israel's plans to advance thousands of settlement units.

It also said the plan harmed prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and added it strongly opposes settlement expansion.

Many countries regard the settlements Israel has built in the territory it captured in a 1967 Middle East war as illegal.

Israel disagrees and has continued to settle some 440,000 Israelis in the West Bank, where 3 million Palestinians live.

A senior Palestinian official said the decision showed that Israel's new government, led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, was "no less extreme" than the previous administration.

Speaking to the Reuters news agency, a senior Israeli official said Bennett’s “government is trying to balance between its good relations with the Biden administration and the various political constraints."

Prime Minister Bennett heads up a coalition government which was sworn in earlier this year.

Palestinians are looking to establish a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Despite hopes for a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, peace talks broke down in 2014.

28 October 2021, 14:34