Israeli army detains 18 Palestinians in West Bank, Jerusalem raids

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Due partly to the sensitive nature of the ancient city, the Jewish settlers have been unable to receive building approvals from the Civil Administration since 2002, when 10 housing units were approved for the Tel Romeida neighborhood.

The Israeli Planning and Construction Committee approved building 60 new settlement units in the settlement of Neghot, south of Hebron, which will be added to the other 30 settlement units that are in the heart of the Old City of Hebron.

The Palestinian Prisoners' Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, overnight and at dawn, Tuesday, many homes in various communities in the occupied West Bank, and abducted eighteen Palestinians.

He urged the US administration to pressure Israel to allow the Palestinian government to work freely in the territories classified as Area C in the West Bank and stop settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.

Human rights groups have previously raised concerns about "severe and deeply discriminating" restrictions imposed on Palestinians moving around the area, with the regular closure of major streets and armed security checkpoints.

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They are part of almost 4,000 settler home plans to be advanced in the West Bank under a push to greatly boost settlement growth, an Israeli official has said.

U.S. President Donald Trump is more sympathetic to Israeli settlements there than the global community, which considers them illegal. "At the same time, the administration recognises that past demands for a settlement freeze have not helped advance peace talks". The settlements are illegal under worldwide law.

Hamdallah stressed that the main obstacle in the path of the peace process is the Israeli occupation and settlement expansion.

Last month, U.S. ambassador to Israel David Friedman, himself a supporter of settlements, enraged Palestinians when he told an Israeli TV interviewer that Israel is "only occupying two percent of the West Bank".

The Palestinians have grown increasingly concerned by Trump and his team - including Friedman - who have yet to publicly commit to the idea of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, the so-called "two-state solution". H1 includes 80 percent of the city and lies under full Palestinian control.

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