Jerusalem, Aug 26 : Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that he has instructed his staff to prepare plans for building a new neighbourhood that will include about 300 new residential housing units in the Israel-occupied West Bank.
The Prime Minister said that the move comes in response to a deadly Palestinian bombing attack on Friday, which claimed the life of a 17-year-old Israeli girl and wounded her brother and father. "We will deepen our roots and strike at our enemies. We will continue to strengthen and develop settlements," he said.
Netanyahu is on a re-election campaign ahead of the Sept 17 parliamentary elections and the expansion of settlements is a move sought by his right-wing electoral base. Violence has been on the rise in the West Bank over the past weeks, stoked by clashes between Israeli police and Palestinian worshippers in East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews. Tensions have been high along the Gaza Strip border.
The settlements are located in the West Bank which was seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. Israel has since controlled the predominantly Palestinian territory despite international criticism.
The Jewish settlements are illegal under international law and most of the international community considers them an obstacle to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.