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Israel approves 3,000 new settler homes

By Agence France-presse in Jerusalem | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-02 13:22

Israel has unveiled plans for 3,000 new homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, the fourth such announcement in the less than two weeks since US President Donald Trump took office.

The late Tuesday announcement came as security forces were preparing to evict the hardline occupants of a wildcat settlement outpost in line with a High Court ruling that determined the homes were built on private Palestinian land.

Israel approves 3,000 new settler homes

The planned eviction has been deeply unpopular with hardliners within the government, widely regarded as Israel's most right-wing ever, and the new building plans were widely seen as a sop to their supporters.

Dozens of security personnel were seen approaching the Amona outpost, northeast of Ramallah, headquarters of the Palestinian Authority, early on Wednesday in readiness to move out its residents.

Hundreds of hardline sympathizers, who had slipped past army roadblocks on foot, lit tyres around the outpost, an AFP correspondent reported.

Some threw stones at the media as residents started packing their belongings.

The former US administration of Barack Obama despaired of Israel's accelerating settlement expansion and, in a sharp break with long-standing policy, withheld its veto on a critical UN Security Council resolution in its final days.

But since Trump took office with top aides sympathetic to the settlement enterprise, the government has announced a string of new projects that will add more than 6,000 homes for Jewish settlers.

"Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have decided to authorize the construction of 3,000 new housing units," the defense ministry said in a statement.

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