Though the decisions hadn’t been officially announced to the public yet, Israel’s defense ministry has confirmed major steps toward two new rounds of settlement expansions adding up to 2,269 new homes in the occupied territories.
The committee signed off on 1,015 homes in one case, meaning they’re effectively a done deal barring unforeseen opposition from Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, while the other 1,254 have been approved in theory, but are awaiting a period of public comment.
It was likely that Israel was holding off the official announcement until the upcoming prisoner release date, when they always announce major settlement expansions to placate MPs who oppose the peace process. The matter was brought to public attention by Peace Now.
The settlements will be yet another major blow to the peace process, as Palestinian officials have been reluctant to approve any extension of the process beyond the April 29 deadline, and this will be one more indication that the talks have netted much more settlement growth and very little substance.