'Israel' publishes tenders for new West Bank settlement units
Despite an agreement in February to halt settlement bids for four months, "Israel" has launched bids for more than 1,000 new units in occupied West Bank settlements.
Despite the Aqaba meeting agreement made in February in US-backed discussions that consideration of additional settlement units would be postponed for the next four months, "Israel" has launched bids for more than 1,000 new units in occupied West Bank settlements.
Since the Jordan summit, which was attended by US, Egyptian, Jordanian, Palestinian, and Israeli officials, the "Israel" Land Authority has announced separate bids for 1,248 additional housing units in West Bank settlements on its website.
Read more: Palestinian resistance in Jenin condemns 'Aqaba' meeting in Jordan
On February 15, the Israeli occupation cabinet approved the construction of more than 7,000 illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank, with the Palestinian Information Center revealing the exact number of the planned units at 7,032.
"Beitar Illit", "Efrat", "Kiryat Arba", "Ma'ale Efraim", and "Karnei Shomron" are among the settlements, as are 89 units in the occupied East Al-Quds settlement of "Gilo".
"Israel's" housing ministry stated that all the tenders are "in line with the rules and have received the required permissions," including from the occupation's security minister.
For decades, the growth of settlements in the West Bank has been one of the most harmful issues for Palestinians. It has persisted despite repeated demands from allies, particularly the United States, to halt development.
In March, the Israeli Knesset rescinded legislation ordering the evacuation of four settlements in the occupied West Bank 18 years after it was passed.
According to a United Nations Human Rights Committee assessment, around 700,000 settlers dwell in 279 settlements across the occupied West Bank and East Al-Quds, an increase from 520,000 in 2012.
Under international law, all Israeli settlements are illegal, and the United Nations Security Council has condemned Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in late February that Israeli-built settlements are "illegal" and they "must stop".
Since taking power in January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's nationalist extremist coalition, which includes key ministers from the settler movement, has pushed ahead with settlement development plans.
According to Peace Now, an anti-settlement group that attended the hearings, the committee in charge of reviewing settlement plans approved the promotion of more than 7,000 dwelling units in February, the majority of which were deep within the West Bank.
The majority of the world sees the Israeli occupation's settlements as illegal in accordance with international law, and insists that their expansion is "an obstacle to peace."
Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organisation's Executive Committee said that by expanding settlements, the Israeli extremist government is "trying to make impossible the establishment of an independent Palestinian state."
Read more: Debunking Smotrich's narrative about the existence of Palestinians
More than 3 million Palestinians reside in the occupied West Bank, excluding occupied East Jerusalem, and have been subjected to decades of military control, which Palestinians and several human rights organizations say amounts to apartheid.