JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel approved more than 1,300 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday in the first such go-ahead since it suspended annexation plans in the territory.
The decision drew an angry response from Palestinians, who seek to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
“We urge the international community to intervene immediately to stop this settlement madness, which destroys any chance for a genuine peace process,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
The construction could help mute criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from settler leaders, who are traditional allies.
They had bristled at the annexation suspension that helped pave the way for last month’s deals to forge diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Israel’s West Bank Civil Administration planning committee gave final approval for building 1,313 housing units in several