Israeli government approves 3000 new settler homes in West Bank

Israel has announced plans to build 3,000 new homes in West Bank settlements, pressing forward with a construction binge that began after the inauguration of Donald Trump as USA president.

The outburst of violence over the outpost, which the Israeli High Court ruled as illegal because it sits on private Palestinian land, comes after months of tension over the site.

The announcement of a planned construction of additional 3,000 Israeli homes in the West Bank was the third such declaration in eleven days since US President Donald Trump took office.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under worldwide law, with much of the global community seeing them as a major obstacle to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

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Israel's recent stream of announcements that it will build thousands of new settler homes in the occupied West Bank "marks a very worrying trend" and risks making a two-state solution impossible, according to the European Union. The deadline for the settlement demolition was set for 8 February 2017.

The West Bank has been occupied by Israel since 1967.

As Israeli forces gathered around the outpost the settlers were seen moving furniture to block the entry to the local synagogue.

On Thursday last week, Israeli officials gave final approval for 153 settler homes in east Jerusalem.

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Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP there were around 3,000 officers in and around Amona to move the 42 families, "and hopefully people will evacuate the area peacefully and quietly". Under the proposed legislation, whose application could still be thwarted by the Supreme Court, Palestinians will be paid a market rate for their land, but will not be able to on-sell it, and displace the unauthorized settlements.

An attempt to evacuate Amona in 2006, around a decade after its founding, led to violent clashes and only nine structures being demolished.

About 50 families, some 250 people, live in Amona now.

The bill is backed by Israel's right-wing government but has alarmed the global community and supporters of an independent Palestinian state. Though global law terms these settlements as illegal, the Israeli government had contended this.

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The settlements are considered by most countries to be a major obstacle to a peace agreement with the Palestinians.


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