An Israeli settlement watchdog said on Monday that construction could start on thousands of new homes this month if Israel does not extend a moratorium on West Bank settlements construction. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly planning to end the moratorium on September 26, while curbing construction in order to avoid a showdown with US President Barack Obama.
The Palestinians have repeatedly threatened to walk out of direct peace talks if construction resumes.
The anti-settlement Peace Now group said the construction of about 13,000 new homes for Israeli settlers in the West Bank could proceed immediately after the moratorium expireswithout any further government decision. According to the group, ground had already been broken on 2,066 units and that another 11,000 had received final government approval.
It added that another 25,000 units were in the pipeline but required further government approval.