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Israel approves expansion of Eli settlement in West Bank despite US warnings

Plans for the construction of over 5,000 housing units in settlements across the West Bank are moving forward.

Israel’s High Planning Committee of the Defense Ministry’s West Bank Civil Administration approved on Monday the advancement of plans for the construction of over 5,000 new housing units at the Eli settlement and others across the West Bank such at Ma'ale Adumim and Beitar Elit.

The move comes despite warnings from Washington. The US State Department said it was "deeply troubled" by the Israeli plan, and "concerned by reports of changes to Israel’s system of settlement administration that expedite the planning and approvals of settlements."

The Benjamin Netanyahu government brushed off these warnings, granting a first-stage approval. Last week, the government shortened the construction approval process for settlements and wildcat outposts, but plans for the new housing still need at least one more approval. The committee also approved an urban master plan for Eli.

Netanyahu announced his decision to advance the construction of new homes in the Eli settlement last Wednesday, shortly after the attack outside the Eli settlement. Two Palestinian assailants arrived in a car. They fired first at the guard stationed at the entrance of the settlement and then at bystanders at a gas station just outside the village. 

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