The Israeli government announced enlargment of the construction with 450 new homes in West Bank settlements.
– I am very concerned about reports that Israel adds 450 settlement units in the West Bank. Whether it is old or new plans, Israel’s settlement policy violates international law and undermines prospects for a peaceful solution to the conflict, said Norway Foreign Minister Børge Brende.
The announcement of settlement expansions come at a time when relations between Israeli and Palestinian authorities are strained. In January Israel held back transfer of tax and of fees that Israel collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. These funds account for about two thirds of the Palestinian Authority budget, and immediately led to cuts in payments of salaries to public employees.
– I warn strongly against any action that may increase the level of conflict. The situation is already difficult because of the withholding of Palestinian tax revenues and slow reconstruction of Gaza, says Brende.