Controversial plans for the first new settlement to be built in the occupied West Bank in almost a decade have been revived by Israel's defence ministry, despite calls by the international community for a freeze on construction, which is illegal under international law.
A key planning committee at the ministry has approved a plan to build 20 homes in a new settlement in the Jordan valley to be called Maskiot.
The defence minister, Ehud Barak, has not yet given his approval, although Israeli reports yesterday suggested the plan would go ahead soon.
The decision comes in the same week as two high-profile visits to Israel by Gordon Brown and Barack Obama, who both talked about the importance of a two-state solution to end the Middle East conflict. cont.