An Israeli settlement watchdog group says Israel has advanced plans to build or retroactively approve 1,065 housing units in illlegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Peace Now said on Thursday that an Israeli military committee retroactively approved 24 housing units in the Beit El settlement, though Israel's Supreme Court ordered them demolished by the end of July because they were built on private Palestinian lands.

The settlements are built on land that Palestinians claim for a future state. Most countries consider them illegitimate.


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In total, the group said, the Israeli military on Wednesday approved 541 new housing units, retroactively legalised 228 existing housing units, and approved infrastructure for a plan that includes 296 housing units.

The military also approved the construction of two industrial structures, a Jewish religious school and a winery.

It has been a year since Israel last approved any new settlement construction.

Last May, the Palestinian Authority criticised Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, for forming a coalition government with pro-settlement far-right Jewish Home party, which opposes a Palestinian state.

Jewish settlements are built on occupied land that Palestinians claim for a future state [AFP]

Source: Agencies