Netanyahu approves new West Bank settlement on Palestine #LandDay

Netanyahu approves new West Bank settlement on Palestine #LandDay
The Israeli prime minister is expected to sign off on Thursday on building the first new settlement in the occupied West Bank for 20 years.
2 min read
30 March, 2017
Netanyahu will approve a plan to build Israel's first new West Bank settlement [AFP]
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he will sign off on a plan to build Israel's first new settlement in the occupied West Bank in more than 20 years, despite international concern over continued illegal Israeli settlement expansion.  

Netanyahu's comments on Thursday came as thousand of Palestinians gathered for the annual Land Day demonstration, commemorating 1976 protests against Israeli plans to seize large sections of land, in which six people were killed.

Netanyahu is due to convene his security cabinet later in the day to approve the new enclave, government officials said.

"I made a promise that we would establish a new settlement," Netanyahu told reporters.

"We will keep it today. There are a few hours until then and you will get all the details."

Netanyahu has previously said he intends to build a new settlement for residents of a wildcat Jewish outpost in the West Bank known as Amona, which was evacuated under court order in February.

An Israeli government-sanctioned settlement would be the first official new settlement in more than 20 years and would surely draw international criticism.

Construction in recent years has involved expanding existing settlements in the West Bank, with many countries warning it is gradually eating away at any chance of a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu has been in discussions with US President Donald Trump's administration on how to move ahead with settlement building.

Trump, while pledging unstinting support for Israel, has also called on Netanyahu to "hold back on settlements for a little bit" while his administrations looks for ways to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Settlements are illegal under international law and are seen as major stumbling blocks to peace efforts, as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.