Israel defense chief plans 2,500 new West Bank settler homes

Israel's defense minister says he will seek approval next week to fast-track construction of 2,500 new West Bank settlement homes in 2018.

Avigdor Lieberman's office said in a statement on Thursday that he aimed to fulfill a commitment to expand construction in West Bank settlements. In addition to the 2,500, Lieberman says he will advance another 1,400 units that are currently in a preliminary planning stage.

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 war and has since built dozens of settlements there. An Israeli watchdog group reported earlier this year that settlement construction has surged under the Trump administration.

Much of the international community views the settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace. Israel says the fate of settlements must be resolved through negotiations.