Tel Aviv, Oct 25 – Israel has issued tenders for the marketing of 1,355 housing units for Jews in the settlements in West Bank, officials said.

The tenders include 729 homes in Ariel, a large settlement in the central West Bank, according to the statement issued by Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin’s office.

Strengthening and expanding the Jewish settlement in the West Bank is “a necessary and very important thing in the vision of the Zionist enterprise”, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

Also on Sunday, Peace Now, an Israeli settlement watch group, said Israel’s Higher Planning Council of the Civil Administration is expected to convene on Wednesday to approve new housing settlements.

The council is expected to discuss 30 housing plans that include 2,862 housing units in the settlements.

It also expects to approve 1,303 housing units for Palestinians in Area C, a zone in the West Bank that is under full Israeli control.

The settlements are located in the West Bank, a territory Israel seized in the 1967 Middle East war and has controlled ever since despite international criticism.

The Palestinians wish to build their future state on these lands.

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