ISRAEL: The US is concerned about Israel’s proposal to grant thousands of building permits in the occupied West Bank, prompting calls for de-escalation negotiations. Israel’s Supreme Planning Council is scheduled to meet next week, with only 1,332 of the 4,560 housing units up for final approval.
Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, plans to develop and strengthen settlements on the West Bank, despite the majority of nations deeming Israel’s 1967 land conquest settlements illegal. This raises concerns in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as they continue to be a key concern.
The Palestinians aim to establish a separate state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as their capital. The US has been mediating peace talks since 2014, but the latest action comes despite America’s demands to stop settlement development.
The US State Department expressed its “deeply troubled” response, and Israel was urged to resume de-escalation-oriented engagement.
The US opposes unilateral actions that hinder a two-state solution and hinder peace, said a department spokesperson. The government led by Benjamin Netanyahu has permitted the creation of over 7,000 new housing units, primarily in the West Bank, since January.
The Palestinian Authority, with limited West Bank autonomy, has changed legislation to allow residents of four evacuated communities to return. The Authority will boycott a joint economic committee meeting with Israel in retaliation for the Israeli decision.
Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2007, citing Hamas’s denunciation of the move. Jewish immigrants applauded the news.
Using Israel’s biblical names for the West Bank, Shlomo Ne’eman, mayor of the Gush Etzion regional council and head of the Yesha Council said that the people have chosen to keep building in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley, and that is exactly what should happen.