Israel has approved the construction of 6,000 new homes for Jewish settlers and 700 homes for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

The decision about new homes in settlements further extends the Israeli presence in the West Bank.

But it is Israel’s approval for Palestinian homes that is unusual.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are seen as illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.

It is not clear whether the Palestinian homes would be new constructions or merely legal approval for 700 already existing homes in what is known as “Area C” of the West Bank – where Palestinian villages often lie close to Israeli settlements, and where Israel has full control of the territory.

The Palestinian leadership dismissed the announcement, saying it rejected any Israeli construction or controls over Palestinian construction in the West Bank.

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