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Israel approves almost 800 new settlement homes

A picture taken on November 19, 2019 shows a new housing construction site in the Israeli settlement of Elazar, near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem south of Jerusalem, in the West Bank. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)
A picture taken on November 19, 2019 shows a new housing construction site in the Israeli settlement of Elazar, near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem south of Jerusalem, in the West Bank. (MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP)

Israel approves the construction of almost 800 housing units in West Bank settlements, as promised last week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, three days before the inauguration of US President-elect Joe Biden.

The Civil Administration says some 780 homes have been okayed.

Settler leaders hail the move, with Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan saying it’s a “historic achievement” reached after years of work, but calls on the government to also recognize thousands of homes in illegal outposts build without the state’s approval.

Meanwhile, left-wing watchdog Peace Now slams the move.

“By promoting hundreds of settlement units, Prime Minister Netanyahu is once again putting his personal political interests over those of the country,” it says in a statement.

“Not only will this settlement activity erode the possibility for a conflict-ending resolution with the Palestinians in the long-term, but in the short-term it needlessly sets Israel on a collision course with the incoming Biden administration.”

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