Israel approved the construction of over 1,300 new settlement homes in the West Bank on Wednesday, according to reports.
The new construction will be the first to take place since Israel agreed to temporarily suspend annexation of territory in the West Bank, according to Reuters. That promise was made as a part of the recent peace negotiations which led to historic diplomatic agreements between Israel and its neighbors Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Palestinian leadership responded negatively to the news, saying the new building undermines future peace efforts, per Reuters. “We urge the international community to intervene immediately to stop this settlement madness, which destroys any chance for a genuine peace process,” said spokesman for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh.
The decision may help Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regain favor amongst settlement leaders who were unhappy with the annexation suspension, Reuters reports. Plans for 853 additional housing units were put forward but not yet approved, per Reuters. (RELATED: Why These Peace Deals Are Way Bigger Than The Media Is Willing To Acknowledge)
The meeting took place on the eve of the historic @KnessetIL meeting Thursday to approve an #Israeli peace deal with the #UAE – where in the deal Israel agreed to suspend any plans to annex #WestBank settlements.
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) October 14, 2020
Many countries, particularly in the middle east, view Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal. Israel disputes this, and the United States no longer considers them to violate international law after a policy shift by the Trump Administration last year.