Israel approves largest West Bank settlement construction in 25 years

After 6-Day War, An American Became A West Bank Settler

They are also seen as a major obstacle to the so-called two-state solution - the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

- Israel has greenlighted plans for over 8,000 new homes in the West Bank, with over a third for "immediate" construction, the defense minister revealed on Sunday, June 11, making it the largest expansion of Jewish settlements in the area in 25 years, RT reports.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman made the comments as Israel's government faced mounting pressure from leaders of the settlement movement, who wield heavy influence in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition.

Quoted by the israeli The Haarezt newspaper, Lieberman admitted that the numbers for the first half of 2017 are the highest since 1992.

They also carried banners reading "Peace with Palestine, Not War with Iran", "50 Years of Occupation; Time to Free Palestine", "Free, Free Palestine", and "Stop Israeli War Crimes, End US Tax Dollars for Israel".

The figures were similar to those published by settlement watchdog Peace Now last week.

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On Tuesday, Israel advanced 1,500 units, with the potential to add around another 900, Peace Now said.

Lieberman said "I am aware more than anyone else of the construction needs in the settlements, and I am also well aware of the restrictions and the pressure that come from the global political community", he said.

"Israel's continued policy of settlement expansion is illegal under worldwide law" and the recent decision "further complicate the prospects for viable two-state solution", the bloc's foreign police chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

Last month, Mr Trump visited Israel and the Palestinian territories, meeting both Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abbas and seeking what he called the "ultimate deal".

Turkey on Saturday condemned the approval of 2,500 additional Israeli settlements in Palestine's West Bank.

Worldwide law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land illegal.

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