x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Netanyahu to approve new settlements

The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to approve construction of hundreds of new homes in West Bank settlements.

The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will approve construction of hundreds of new homes in West Bank settlements before considering a freeze sought by Washington, a government official said. The move is certain to outrage Palestinians who consider Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank to be a major hurdle in hobbled efforts towards a Middle East peace accord. The government official confirmed a report in the Jerusalem Post daily that said Mr Netanyahu would consider a moratorium on settlement construction only "for a few months" after the green light is given to build hundreds of new homes.

The English-language newspaper said work on 2,500 housing units which is already under way would also continue. The US administration has been pressing Israel to freeze settlement construction in a bid to restart peace talks with the Palestinians that have been at a standstill since December. * AFP