A young boy stands within a blast crater following an overnight Israeli bombardment in Rafah, southern Gaza on Feb. 23, 2024.

Israel plans to approve hundreds of new homes in occupied West Bank

Israel plans to approve the construction of more than 3,300 new homes in settlements in the occupied West Bank, a senior Cabinet minister from the far-right wing of the government announced.

Approval of new construction is bound to elicit condemnation from the United States at a time when the relationship between the allies is fraught because of disagreements over the course of Israel’s war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said in a statement late Thursday that the new construction is meant as a response to a fatal Palestinian shooting attack near Jerusalem earlier in the day. He said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant participated in the discussion leading to the decision.