Israel publishes tenders for hundreds of new illegal settler homes
Israel’s Ministry of Construction and Housing published tenders on Tuesday for the building of 2,572 new settler housing units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, hours before a new US administration was inaugurated in Washington.
The tenders are for 2,112 settler units in various illegal settlements in the West Bank, and 460 more housing units in East Jerusalem. The tenders also include commercial and industrial buildings.
Tenders are settlement units that the Israeli government markets itself.
Israel has occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the Middle East war of 1967, and its settlement expansion in the territories are illegal under international law.
'Netanyahu is signalling to the incoming president that he has no intention of giving the new chapter in US-Israel relations even one day of grace, nor serious thought to how to plausibly resolve our conflict with the Palestinians'
- Peace Now
Roughly half a million Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, guarded by military checkpoints and the Israeli army.
Israeli NGO Peace Now condemned the announcement and uptick in settlement plans being waved through by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government in recent weeks.
“Our out-of-touch government leadership continues to press on with its mad scramble to promote as much settlement activity as possible until the last minutes before the change of the administration in Washington," Peace Now said.
"By doing so, Netanyahu is signalling to the incoming president that he has no intention of giving the new chapter in US-Israel relations even one day of grace, nor serious thought to how to plausibly resolve our conflict with the Palestinians."
The Israeli construction and housing minister will market the tenders, calling for building contractors to submit proposals. The work is expected to start within two years
Last week, more than 500 settler units were approved for construction in occupied East Jerusalem, days after Netanyahu ordered the construction of 800 new settler homes in the West Bank.
Netanyahu, who used Donald Trump's four years in office to pursue staunchly right-wing and pro-settler policies, is back on the campaign trail, as he seeks to secure victory in a March election.