Good news out of Eretz Yisrael.
Especially for supporters of a Greater Israel.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel announced Monday approval for building 277 homes in a West Bank settlement, despite U.S. and international pressure to curb expansion on occupied land and as Palestinians prepare for a statehood bid at the United Nations.
Four days after a final go-ahead for a plan to build 1,600 settler homes in East Jerusalem drew U.S. and European condemnation, Defense Minister Ehud Barak's office said he had signed off on new housing in the major settlement of Ariel.
Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman told Reuters the project was the largest approved by the government in the settlement for years.
"No more than 50 apartments have been built here in the past seven years," Nachman said.
Ariel, which has some 18,000 inhabitants, is one of the largest settlements Israel has built in the West Bank, territory captured in a 1967 war and which Palestinians want back along with the Gaza Strip for a future state.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has named Ariel as one of the large settlements that Israel intends to keep in any peace deal with the Palestinians.
U.S.-brokered peace talks have been frozen since the Palestinians walked out in September over Israeli settlement building.