Huffpost WorldPost

Israel Defies Obama's Settlement Demand, Authorizes Construction Of 300 New Homes In West Bank

Posted: Updated:

In defiance of President Obama's call for a halt to all settlement growth, Israel has authorized the construction of 300 new homes in the West Bank, Haaretz reports.

According to Army Radio said 60 of the 300 homes slated for the Talmon settlement in the West Bank have already been built and that [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak had approved plans to construct another 240 units there.

U.S. President Barack Obama has pressed Israel to halt settlement activity as part of a bid to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Haaretz reports that half a million Jews live in settlement blocs and outposts on land Israel captured in 1967.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called debate over the settlements a waste of time, according to a separate report from Haaretz.

He also said that Israel has been forthcoming with its intentions to halt construction while still allowing for natural growth in existing communities, which he called "an equitable position which reflexes our willingness to enter immediately in peace negotiations and get on with peace."

"I think that the more we spend time arguing about this, the more we waste time instead of moving towards peace," he said.

The AP reports that the plans were approved by Barak and filed with authorities in April.

The outpost, known as Water Reservoir Hill, is just several hundred meters (yards) from an established Israeli settlement, Talmon, not far from Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian government.

It is one of more than 100 wildcat settlements that have been erected without official government approval but typically with the cooperation of government agencies.

"This is important because it shows that Israel is not only not evacuating outposts, but is turning them into what it considers legal settlements and expanding areas of control in ways that harm Palestinians," said Alon Cohen-Lifshitz, an architect at Bimkom.

Bimkom has filed an objection with planning authorities, along with residents of the nearby Palestinian village of al-Jania.

Get HuffPost World On Facebook and Twitter!

Around the Web

Israel to Obama: hold Iran's feet to fire, or else | U.S. | Reuters

Obama and Israel - January 9, 2008 - The New York Sun

Power Line - Did Obama say anything to "delegitimize" Israel?

Obama's Israel Shuffle | Mother Jones

Analysis: Obama's Islam success rests on Israel - White House ...

White House Watch - Is Obama Getting Tough With Israel?

Can Friends of Israel--and Jews--Trust Obama?

Obama, Israel on collision course over Iran -

Obama's game is to defeat the lobby from inside it

Washington reiterates support for Israel

Obama's resolve on Mideast facing a history of blunt reality

How Clinton and the Democrats Made Possible Israel's Settlements Expansion

Israel: Obama's Speech Won't Change Our Settlement Policy

Analysis: Obama's Islam Success Depends On Israel

Israeli settlement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

U.S., Israel seek clarity on settlement freeze | International ...

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israel 'plans settlement growth'

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israel approves settlement growth

Israeli official: 'Accommodation' possible on settlements -

Israeli PM rejects settlement freeze - Israel-Palestinians-

Israeli Rejection of Settlement Freeze Means Trouble for Obama - TIME

Israel anticipates Netanyahu response to Obama settlement pressure ...

"Natural Growth": Netanyahu's Road Map to a Mid East Roadblock