Israel has given the final approval for the construction of 2,342 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank, according to the watchdog Peace Now, which closely monitors settlement building by Israel in Palestine. In addition to the settler homes, the construction of the new Tunnel Road, which connects Bethlehem to the west, has been approved to help increase the number of settlements in Palestine.
According to Peace Now, 59% of the new settler houses will be built on land that Israel would most likely have to abandon under a peace agreement with Palestine. Therefore this move to construct more than 2,000 homes is a blatant attempt to disregard any hope for future peace agreements, according to the watchdog:
Netanyahu continues to sabotage the possibility of a political agreement with the Palestinians by promoting more settlement construction in the West Bank, including in places where Israel may have to evacuate as part of a future agreement.”
The Israeli Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee, which made the decision to allow the construction of these new settlements, are responsible for authorizing an increasing number of colonizing settlements across the West Bank.
Since the beginning of the year, 8,337 housing units in settlements have been approved by Israel, which is a 50% increase in comparison to 2018 when 5,618 housing units were approved.
The US Trump administration has completely avoided condemning the increase of Israeli settlements, which under international law are deemed illegal. US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman has claimed that he does not see anything wrong with Israel controlling parts of the West Bank. Friedman also attended the official opening ceremony for an Israeli settlement’s new medical school in the West Bank.
Peace Now have stated in regards to Israel’s most recent authorization of new settlements:
[Israel] must put a freeze on the development of settlements and strive for immediate resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians without preconditions and end the bloody conflict based on the principle of two states for two peoples.”
As Israel continues to disregard international law in regards to the building of settlements, protecting human rights, and following international treaties, it remains deeply worrying that Israel repeatedly moves with impunity. As the construction of more than 2,000 illegal settler homes begin, Palestinians will continue to suffer under this brutal form of colonization until the world wakes up to one of modern history’s most atrocious crimes against humanity.