Israel's Controversial Plan to Build Thousands of New Settlement Homes in West Bank Sparks Global Outrage

February 25, 2024 - Reading time: 2 minutes

Israel has announced plans to construct over 3,300 new homes in settlements located within the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

This decision comes as a response to a fatal Palestinian shooting attack that took place near the Maale Adumim settlement, resulting in one Israeli death and five injuries. The news sparked anger from the U.S., particularly at a time when tensions are growing over Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza Strip.

Israel’s Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich announced these new settlement plans late Thursday, following the attack. He stated that the decision will put into motion approval processes for 300 new homes in Kedar and 2,350 more in Maale Adumim. Additionally, it will advance previously approved construction of nearly 700 homes in Efrat.

The U.S., under President Joe Biden's administration, seeks eventual Palestinian governance in Gaza and the West Bank as a precursor to Palestinian statehood. However, this outcome is opposed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing government. Critics argue that these new settlement plans further distance Israel from peace and security.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed disappointment over the announcement, stating that it goes against longstanding U.S. policy under both Republican and Democratic administrations alike. He added that such actions are inconsistent with international law and only serve to weaken Israel's security rather than strengthening it.

Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip in 1967 during the Mideast war. Since October 2021, violence has escalated in the West Bank following a deadly Hamas attack on southern Israel, which triggered Israel's war against the militant group.

Since then, Palestinian gunmen have carried out several deadly attacks on Israelis. In response, Israeli forces have tightened their grip on the West Bank and conducted frequent raids targeting what they consider to be militant sites. According to Palestinian health officials, 401 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank during this period.

DW Staff

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