Tel Aviv is going to construct some 800 new housing units across the occupied West Bank despite international calls for a halt to all settlement activities.
“The settlers are working fast to produce as many construction starts as possible so that these new housing units will be counted as existing settlements and not included in any future agreed upon freeze,” according to a report released by the Israeli left-wing NGO Peace Now on Monday.
The report went on to say that the new projects are not among the some 2,400 houses which are already in different stages of construction that Israel aims to complete despite agreeing to a temporary freeze in settlement construction.
Tel Aviv is currently under intense pressure from the international community to halt the illegal settlement constructions in the West Bank. Israeli settlements are widely considered as the main hurdle in the way of comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Under the 2002 Roadmap for Peace plan brokered by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia, Israel has to ‘dismantle settlement outposts erected since 2001 and also freeze all settlement activities’.
It is estimated that there are almost 200,000 illegal Jewish settlers in the twelve or so Israeli settlements in al-Quds. There are also about 300,000 more illegal Jewish settlers living in settlements across the occupied Palestinian territory of West Bank.
All Jewish settlements are illegal under international law because they are erected on occupied lands that the Palestinians claim for a future state.