The Jewish settlements in the Israeli-controlled West Bank are a major point of dispute between Israelis and Arabs, as the UN considers settlers’ activity to be a major obstacle for reaching peace in the area.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered to advance the construction of hundreds of housing units in Judea and Samaria, according to an official statement. In total, the construction of 800 houses is affected by the announcement, including over 200 units in the city of Rehelim and the outpost of Nofei Nehemia, as well as 100 in Tel Menashe.
ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו הורה על קידום בנייתן של מאות יחידות דיור ביהודה ושומרון, בין היתר: למעלה מ-100 יח”ד בטל מנשה, יישוב מגוריה של אסתר הורגן ז”ל, וכן בניית למעלה מ-200 יח”ד ברחלים ובנופי נחמיה, כחלק מהסדרת היישוב.
— ראש ממשלת ישראל (@IsraeliPM_heb) January 11, 2021
Israel has been building homes for Jewish settlers in lands it annexed during the 1967 war. Up to 600,000 Israelis are now living in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, and their settlements are not recognised by the UN as legal.
In January 2020, Netanyahu said his Cabinet was planning to proceed to officially annex 30% of the West Bank in accordance with US President Donald Trump’s peace plan. However, the move was cancelled after the US administration changed its position on the issue.
Later, Israel agreed to suspend the annexation of the Jordan Valley after agreeing to a US-brokered diplomatic normalisation deal with the UAE.