JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel's defense minister announced Thursday that it would seek approval to build around 2,500 new homes in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank next week, which would result in the Palestinian condemnation.
Avigdor Lieberman, writing Twitter said that a regional planning authority would be asked to name 1,400 residential units for immediate construction.
"We will promote building throughout Judea and Samaria, from north to south, in small communities and in large ones," said Lieberman, using the biblical names for the West Bank.
He published the announcement two days after the Palestinians asked prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to launch a full investigation into allegations of Israeli human rights abuses in Palestinian territory.
"Lieberman's decision is an Israeli message to the world, the ICS, the United Nations and human rights organizations that Israel thwarts all international efforts to save the peace process," said Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Settlements are one of the most heated issues in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks frozen since 2014.
Palestinians want the West Bank for a future state, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Most countries consider settlements Israel illegal on the territory it conquered in the 1967 war in the Middle East.
Israel denies that its settlements are illegal and says its future should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.
The Trump government has been working on a new peace proposal. David Friedman, the US Ambassador to Israel, said Wednesday in Israeli Channel 10 News that the plan is still pending and he believes it will be presented "within months".
About 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where more than 2.6 million Palestinians live. The Palestinians have long argued that Israeli settlements could deny them a viable and cohesive state.
Reporting by Jeffrey Heller, adaptation by Larry King, William Maclean