Israeli officials have approved the construction of 700 Palestinian homes in the West Bank and at the same time have also supported the construction of 6,000 new homes for Jewish settlers in the area. The approval has come ahead of the visit of Jared Kushner, the White House’s Middle East envoy and son-in-law of US President Donald Trump.
While the decision for the construction of 6000 new homes confirms the extent of presence of Israel in the disputed area, its approval allowing construction of Palestinian homes seems unexpected. The prime reason for the approval seeming unexpected is that under the international law, Israeli settlements in the area are considered illegal.
This move has led to many questions like why was the approval of construction in West Bank provided and what does this approval truly means?
The move made prior to the visit of Kushner has led to the speculations that it might bring the Middle-Eastern countries for a summit in the US. The Trump administration has earlier made various moves in favour of Israel and against Palestine.
Following the approval by the Israeli authorities, one thing that remains uncertain is if the approval is for the construction of the new Palestinian homes or it is the legal approval for the 700 already existing homes in the “Area C” of the disputed territory.
The prime reason for the controversy surrounding the construction in the West Bank territory is because of the difference in opinions of the Israelis and Palestinians.
According to sources, while 400,000 and 200,000 Jews live in settlements in disputed territory and East Jerusalem respectively, around 2.5 million Palestinians live in the same region. And to further worsen the situation, Palestine wants to develop a region in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
This has led to the varied opinions between two countries as the Israelis believe that the Palestinians have arose the issue of settlements knowingly and want to use it as an excuse to impede the peace talks while Palestinians claim that the presence of settlements makes a future independent state impossible.
Even though the true reason behind the approval of Israeli authorities for construction in the disputed West Bank is still unknown, the approval is certainly welcoming. With such approvals surfacing, it might be a possibility, that both the nations might reach an accord to end their dispute and tread on the path to achieve regional peace, which appears to be a herculean task as of now.