Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war, and the Palestinians want it to form the main part of their future state. Today, the territory is home to more than 2.5 million Palestinians and nearly 500,000 Jewish settlers.
Israel on Monday authorized some 1,300 Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank days after advancing plans to build more than 3,000 housing units for Jewish settlers, AP repports.
The Israeli government says it is adopting a moderate approach with the aim of minimizing friction with the U.S. — which is opposed to settlements — and tensions within its ruling coalition, which includes parties from across the political spectrum.
The Palestinians and rights groups say the newly authorized homes meet only a small fraction of the need in the 60% of the West Bank that is under full Israeli control. Military permits for Palestinian construction are rarely granted and unauthorized structures are often demolished.
An Israeli security official confirmed the approval of the Palestinian housing, saying it authorized existing homes and gave permission to build new ones, without providing a breakdown. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
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