Israel has pushed ahead with the construction plans for some 3,000 homes across the occupied West Bank, an NGO claimed. In February, US President Trump urged Israeli PM Netanyahu to temporarily hold back on settlements.
The non-governmental organization Peace Now said Thursday that plans for more than 3,000 units had been advanced this week in West Bank's Jewish settlements.
The organization said the Israeli government on Tuesday approved construction of some 1,500 houses, with the possibility to add another 900, on the territory. In a separate process, 688 homes were advanced by a defense ministry committee on Wednesday.
Israeli authorities were not available to comment immediately on the Peace Now report.
If confirmed, the construction plans would be the first major approval by Israeli authorities since US President Donald Trump requested Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February "hold back on settlements a little bit."
It is also not clear whether Israel informed Washington about the plans beforehand.
Netanyahu on Tuesday reiterated that settlement construction in the West Bank would continue, but he added that no one would be "uprooted from his home."
"Everyone has the right to live in his home and nobody will be uprooted from his home," Netanyahu said at a special session of parliament marking 50 years since the Six-Day War, when Israel's occupation of the West Bank began.
An impediment in peace efforts
In March, Netanyahu's security cabinet approved the first new settlement in the occupied West Bank in two decades, despite international concern they are an obstacle to peace.
Last month, members of the European Parliament attacked Israel's settlement policy, particularly a law that retroactively legalized Jewish settlements on privately owned Palestinian land.
Settlement construction in the West Bank has skyrocketed since Netanyahu took office in 2009, with 15,000 additional Israeli Jewish settlers moving into homes on the West Bank in 2016 alone.
The international community considers the settlements illegal even if they are approved by Israeli legislators. The United Nations also considers thema major impediment in peace efforts between Israel and Palestine.
shs/sms (AP, AFP)