Israel publishes tenders for over 1,000 new settler units in West Bank, East al-Quds amid tensions

Israeli authorities have published tenders for more than 1,000 new settler units in the West Bank and East al-Quds, irrespective of the international outcry against the Tel Aviv regime’s illegal settlement expansion activities and land grab policies across the occupied Palestinian territories.

The anti-settlement group Peace Now said in a statement on Friday that the so-called Israel Land Authority issued tenders earlier this week for the construction of 940 units in the illegal West Bank settlements of Efrat and Beitar Ilit, as well as a further 89 units in Har Gilo settlement, located five kilometers (3.1 miles) south of al-Quds.

The watchdog added that a total of 747 units are planned to be built in 11 different complexes across Beitar Illit settlement, of which 727 are part of the so-called “Targeted Housing” program.

Peace Now said the publication of the tenders came despite the fact that Israel pledged at Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh summit earlier this month to stop the discussion of new settlement construction for four months and to stop plans to legalize unauthorized settlement outposts for six months.

“Despite Israel’s commitments to its allies around the world, it appears to continue promoting construction that harms the chances for a political agreement and increases tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in both the short and long term,” the statement read.

“This is yet another harmful and unnecessary construction initiative, as part of the messianic coup that is unfolding alongside the regime coup,” the group said, lambasting the right-wing administration led by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “trampling on the possibility of a future political agreement, and on our relations with the US and friendly countries.”

Emboldened by former US president Donald Trump’s all-out support, Israel has stepped up its illegal settlement construction activities in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounced settlements in the West Bank and East al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law.”

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued illegal settlement expansion.

Many Palestinians believe the Israeli plans to annex one-third of the already occupied West Bank, including parts of the strategic Jordan Valley, is only a formality and that a de facto Israeli occupation of their land has been underway for many years.

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