Israeli settlement construction in West Bank rises by 70%

Netanyahu announced Tuesday on Twitter that "work began today on-site, as I promised, to establish the new settlement", including a picture of construction equipment breaking ground.

The settlement, Amichai, will house the residents of the illegal Amona outpost, which the Israeli Supreme Court ordered demolished for being built illegally on privately owned Palestinian land.

Since then, conversations have been ongoing, the White House official said.

In Israel, Kushner will be joining Jason Greenblatt, the White House's special envoy, for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

More than 600,000 Israelis now live in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of global law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the worldwide community.

Greenblatt was previously an attorney for the Trump Organization who held no diplomatic experience prior to joining the administration.

Al-Quds and al-Hayat al-Jadida reported presidential spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudenieh condemning the announcement by Netanyahu to construct the new settlement.

The move comes ahead of a scheduled visit by a US delegation to discuss prospects for reviving the stagnant peace process, which, according to Palestinian presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh, "indicates that Israel is not interested in USA efforts and is serious about thwarting these efforts as it did with previous USA administrations".

US -brokered peace talks between the sides broke down in 2014.

Israeli forces arrested the mother of a slain Palestinian assailant early on Wednesday after she praised her son's deadly east Jerusalem attack, the army and police said.

It was the latest incident in a wave of Palestinian attacks that began in September 2015. Since the 1993 peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, the number of settlement homes has increased more than threefold, threatening the viability of a two-state solution.

Gestures being discussed include allowing Israeli businesses to operate in Saudi Arabia and authorizing Israeli planes to fly over the kingdom, which would shave up to three hours off flights to Asia, Kara said.

  • Joanne Flowers