Israel expands illegal settlements, despite US protestations

Israel expands illegal settlements, despite US protestations
The US has expressed its deep concerns over new plans to expand Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, but Israel looks set to proceed regardless.
1 min read
30 July, 2015
Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land are illegal [AFP]
Israel gave final approval for plans to build 300 new illegal housing units on Palestinian land for Jewish settlers, announcing the move as it carried out a court demolition order against two vacant apartment blocks in the same illegal settlement. 

A statement issued by the office of Israel's extremist right-wing prime minister said the "immediate construction of 300 housing units" had been approved for another site in Beit El.

The settlement of more than 6,000 is near the Palestinian West Bank city of Ramallah. 

In addition, the statement said, planning approval was granted for the building of 413 homes in occupied East Jerusalem area.  

The United States said it was "deeply concerned" about Israel's decision. 

"Settlement expansion threatens the two-state solution and calls into question Israel’s commitment to a negotiated resolution to the conflict," the State Department said in a statement.  

Israel occupies the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territory Palestinians seek for a state of their own, in the 1967 Middle East war. The UN and most countries consider the settlements illegal.

Settlers have been lobbying Netanyahu over the past few weeks to step up housing construction.
demolished blocks.