Israel’s government has announced yet more major settlement expansions in the occupied West Bank today, adding to the huge number already announced this year and adding yet more roadblocks to the efforts to restart peace talks.
Today’s announcements comprised 1,087 new homes in two settlements, as well as the retroactive approval of 130 homes built illegally in the settlement of Itamar. The larger of the two expansions came in Bruchin, where the expansion will nearly triple the size of the settlement.
Bruchin was founded as a “trailer neighborhood” on state-held land in 1998, and the Israeli High Court had ordered construction there frozen on the grounds that it constitutes an “unauthorized” settlement.
Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was quick to criticize the expansions, saying they are “killing the two state solution.” The US State Department said they have expressed “concern” about the move.