Israel has approved 2,500 settler homes in the occupied West Bank, officials said Tuesday, marking a major settlement expansion following the election of US President Donald Trump. The planned new homes approved by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman may be the largest number to have been given the green light since 2013, said settlement watchdog Peace Now.

Settlements in both the West Bank and east Jerusalem are viewed as illegal under international law and major stumbling blocks to peace as they are built on land the Palestinians want for their own state. The Israeli defence ministry announced the plans in a statement, saying most of the homes would be located within large settlement blocks in the West Bank. READ MORE