Israel approved Thursday, May 12 nearly 4,500 housing units in settlements in the West Bank, Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 by the Jewish state. More than 2,700 of these homes have been given the green light for permanent settlement, according to Israel’s anti-settlement organization Peace Now.

Today, around 475,000 Israeli settlers reside in the West Bank, where 2.9 million Palestinians live. Israeli settlement, illegal under international law, has continued under every Israeli government since 1967.

It has accelerated in recent years under the leadership of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His successor Naftali Bennett, a former leader of a settler organization, has since June 2021 headed a motley coalition ranging from the radical right to left-wing parties.

“A future peace even more difficult to achieve”

His interior minister, Ayelet Shaked, one of his relatives, estimated Thursday on Twitter that it was a “feast day for the colonization movement in Judea and Samaria”the term used by the Israeli authorities to refer to the West Bank.

“This is bad news for Israel and it reinforces the occupation, making future peace even harder to achieve.”for his part, commented Hagit Ofran, of the NGO “Peace Now”, which closely follows the evolution of Israeli colonization. “It is disappointing that this government which promised change is following policies similar to those of the Netanyahu government”she added.

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