The announcement came two days after the Palestinian Authority complained about Israeli settlements to the International Criminal Court.

Construction in Efrat

Construction in Efrat Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash 90

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced Thursday that he is advancing a plan to approve thousands of new housing units in West Bank settlements. According to Liberman’s statement, the regional construction planning committee will vote next week on his proposal to approve 2,500 housing units for immediate construction. In addition, the committee, which is the government body charged with approving construction in the West Bank, will discuss approving another 1,400 housing units in general.

The new housing units will be located in over 30 settlements throughout the West Bank. The main settlements that would be affected by Liberman’s proposal are: Ariel (400 units), Ma’ale Adumim (460 units), Ma’ale Efrayim (45 units), Kiryat Arba (150 units), Hinanit (80 units), Avnei Hefetz (130 units), Talmon (180 units), Kfar Etzion (160 units) and Teneh Omarim (130 units).

“We committed to building in Judea and Samaria and we are making good on that promise,” Liberman said in a statement released by his office. “In the coming months, we will put forward thousands of other housing units for approval. We will continue to develop Judea and Samaria through action.”

In response to Liberman’s announcement, the left-wing Peace Now NGO stated: “The government has released a clear message about what its distorted priorities are…while there’s no budget for the northern defense plan, government officials are boasting about [activities] beyond the Green Line.”

Earlier this week, the Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister complained about the Israeli settlements as he requested that the International Criminal Court investigate Israel for alleged war crimes. In a formal request submitted to the international court, Riyad al-Maliki said that the settlements are “the single most dangerous threat to Palestinian lives and livelihoods.”

“Israel maintains, expands and protects the settlement regime by committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people,” he added.