Plans to build 800 new housing units in the West Bank are moving forward, the Defense Ministry said Monday.
The ministry said it had approved an initial planning stage for the housing earlier this month. The approval is an initial step in a protracted bureaucratic process and construction is not expected to begin for months.
The approval came as Israel and the Palestinians conducted quiet, behind-the-scenes peace talks. The Palestinians want the West Bank, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, as part of a future state and oppose Israeli settlement building.
The housing plans were originally announced last month, following Israel’s release of 26 Palestinian prisoners. That move was part of a deal that brought the two sides back to negotiations.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.