(REPORT) —- Israel’s defense ministry announced plans on Tuesday to build 2,500 more settlement homes in the West Bank, the second announcement of new construction in the occupied territory since Donald Trump took office in the United States.
A statement from the ministry said the plans, authorized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, were intended to fulfill a demand for new housing “to maintain regular daily life”.
Most of the new construction will take place in existing settlement blocs.
The statement said 100 of the homes would be built in Beit El, a settlement which according to Israeli media has received funding from the family of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary general Saeb Erekat called for international action against Israel’s illegal expansion.
“The international community must hold Israel accountable immediately for what it is doing,” he said, adding that Israel had been emboldened by “what they consider encouragement by American President Donald Trump.”
Netanyahu spoke of the settlement approvals on Twitter.
“We are building and we will continue building,” he said.
Trump has signalled strong support for Israel, and Israeli right-wing politicians have sought to take advantage, with hardliners calling for an end to the idea of a Palestinian state.
Netanyahu has said he still supports a two-state solution, but reportedly told ministers on Sunday that all restrictions on building settlements in annexed east Jerusalem were being lifted.
He also said on Sunday he plans to expand construction in large settlement blocks in the West Bank, Israeli media reported, and that he foresees eventually bringing all settlements under Israeli sovereignty.
It was not immediately clear whether it was the first time that the new construction had been announced.
There are several stages involved in the process of approving and building new settlement homes.
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