RNA - Israeli officials said on Wednesday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet had approved permits for 6,000 new units for settlers in the so-called Area C of the West Bank.
The area is the largest division in the occupied territory as it comprises 60 percent of the land, and is under full Israeli military control.
The Palestinian leadership rejected the construction announcement, with the Palestinian Foreign Ministry calling it “evidence of the dark colonial mentality of the rules in Israel and which ignores all United Nations resolutions, international law and the signed agreements.”
The announcement came ahead of a visit by President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy and son-in-law Jared Kushner to Israel as part of a regional tour.
The US last month held a conference in Bahrain, during which it unveiled economic part of Trump’s “deal of the century.” That event was boycotted by the Palestinians and all supporters of the Palestinian cause.
The US claims the plan is aimed at settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Recent revelations say under Trump’s deal, the settlement blocs in the West Bank — which are illegal under international law and UN Security Council Resolution 2334 — will remain under the Israeli regime’s control and will expand to reach out to other isolated settlements.
The Palestinian leadership has rejected US diplomacy, saying the Trump administration is biased towards Israel.
About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem 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 settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.
The Trump administration has taken a harsh stance against the Palestinians. In August last year, the Trump administration announced it was slashing millions of dollars in support to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
Millions of dollars have also been cut in aid to the Palestinians for projects in the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip, including to hospitals in East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Last year, the US also moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem al-Quds, recognizing that city as Israel’s “capital.” Ramallah has refused to take part in any US-led negotiations with the Israeli regime ever since.