Israel gives final approval for settlement university in West Bank

Israel has granted a West Bank college coveted university status, in a move that could trigger international condemnation and enrage the Palestinians.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday that following a legal review, he has instructed the military to upgrade the college's status, the final approval for the designation.

The announcement marks a victory for nationalist settlers who hope university recognition will give them further legitimacy and a stronger sense of permanence in the West Bank.

Israel's council of higher education previously voted against the upgrade, citing academic reasons. Opponents fear it will politicize Israel's higher education system.

Palestinians consider the West Bank to be part of their future state. Most of the international community agrees and considers Israel's West Bank settlements illegal and an obstacle to peace.