Israel Approves 2500 West Bank Homes Following Netanyahu Call With Trump

Most of the building will take place in existing blocs in order to satisfy housing demands, a statement signed off by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said.

In a phone call on Sunday, Trump and Netanyahu discussed a range of issues including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the ways to advance and strengthen US-Israel special relationship.

The announcement of 2,500 units comes just two days after a Jerusalem planning committee approved the construction of 560 housing units in East Jerusalem, on territory that most of the world considered occupied.

Bennett, who opposes a Palestinian state and advocates Israel annexing most of the West Bank, has spoken repeatedly of what he sees as the rare possibilities under a Trump presidency.

"The era of the Palestinian state is over" education minister and leader of the pro-settler Jewish Home Party Naftali Bennett said after Trump's win.

In December, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway indicated that Trump still supported the move.

The White House says that Donald Trump's administration is "beginning" to discuss moving the USA embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

Netanyahu tweeted his congratulations Friday, the day of Trump's inauguration.

Yet when he was asked Monday about plans for moving the embassy, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said: "There's no decisions".

He noted that UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which the USA let pass in the waning days of the Obama administration, determined that the settlements lack legal validity and called for their immediate cessation.

Israel captured Arab east Jerusalem during the 1967 war and later annexed it - in a move not recognised by the worldwide community - declaring all of the city its unified capital. The country declared the entire city as its unified capital, but Palestine says that east Jerusalem is the capital of their future state. -Israeli relationship, the White House said on Sunday.

The latest UN Security Council resolution stated that the establishment of settlements "has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under global law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace".

Turjeman said plans for some 11,000 other homes were also in process in east Jerusalem, though he did not say when they could be moved forward.

"The rules of the game have changed with Donald Trump's arrival as president", Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Meir Turjeman told AFP.

"We are building - and we will continue to build", Netanyahu tweeted.

Despite global condemnation and criticism from major human rights groups, Israel has consistently managed to carry on with its illegal expansion, which includes intimidating Palestinians, throwing them out of their homes, demolishing their homes and destroying their lives and livelihood.

Past presidents have stated their intention to move the embassy, he points out, which makes the decision a "foreign policy litmus test" for the new president.



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