The decision approved by the Civil Administration is the first of its kind since Naftali Bennett’s government took office early this month, ending the “Netanyahu era” between 2009 and 2011, after four legislative elections failed to train the government.
Bennett’s coalition is made up of eight parties representing a broad political spectrum, from ultra-nationalist to more liberal formations, and even a small Islamist party.
The now-approved project includes the construction of a shopping mall, a school for students with special needs, and several infrastructure projects in existing settlements in the West Bank, according to several Israeli media outlets.
The Palestinian territories consist of two areas geographically separated by Israel: the West Bank – theoretically including Jerusalem – and the Gaza Strip, which was supposed to form a Palestinian state coexisting with the Hebrew state.
Located east of Israel and west of Jordan, the West Bank of 5,655 square kilometers has been occupied by the Israeli army for more than 50 years.
The Palestinian Authority exercises limited powers in about 40% of the West Bank, particularly urban centres. Israel, which controls all entrances, administers 60% of the land, as well as its settlements.
The West Bank, which is guarded by the Israeli army, is flanked to the west by the separation wall that Israel began building in 2002 to prevent Palestinian attacks.
Some 475,000 Israelis live in settlements considered illegal under international law in the West Bank, along with 2.8 million Palestinians.