The decision has defied growing U.S. criticism of Israel’s settlement policies and raised tensions with the Palestinians. Many in the international community consider the settlement constructions illegal or illegitimate, as well as an obstacle to peace.
Netanyahu’s government, the most right-wing in Israel’s 75-year history, has made settlement expansion its top priority.
- Recent attacks between settlers and Palestinians, left 16 Palestinians and four Israelis dead. This year has been one of the deadliest overall in the West Bank in years, with at least 137 Palestinians killed by Israeli fire and 24 Israelis killed in Palestinian attacks.