middle east

Israel to accelerate settlement construction in occupied West Bank

Israel’s government on Sunday approved legislation to speed up the construction of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, handing more power to Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich over one of the most contentious issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Settlement construction no longer has to be approved at a political level, Israel’s public broadcaster Kan reported, changing from the current system which has been in place for more than 25 years.

Under the new system, proposals for settlement construction can now be submitted to Israel’s Supreme Planning Council without prior political approval, with political intervention cut from four stages to two.

This decision will lead to further harmful construction in the settlements, in clear violation of international law
Israeli campaign group Peace Now

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