June 20 (UPI) -- Construction began Tuesday on a West Bank settlement for Israelis to replace one demolished earlier this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced.
The new outpost, named Amichai, is the first West Bank settlement built in 25 years, and will house evacuees from Amona, which was razed after a court ruled it was illegally constructed on Palestinian-owned land.
"Today, ground works began, as I promised, for the establishment of the new community for the residents of Amona. After decades, I have the privilege to be the prime minister who is building a new community in Judea and Samaria," Netanyahu said. He used the Biblical references for the West Bank, territories captured by Israel in 1967.
The new settlement is the first of its kind to be built since the 1993 Oslo peace accords.
Plans for Amichai go on despite U.S. President Donald Trump's request in February for Israel to "hold back" on building West Bank settlements to better accommodate his administration's peace overtures. Meanwhile Netanyahu is pressured by right-wing parliament members to expand the construction of settlements, the Jewish Press reported Tuesday.
Tuesday's construction involved the start of infrastructure improvements. Building plans first require several stages of approval, Israel Radio said.
In February, 42 families were evicted from Amona after a lengthy court battle which determined the settlement was built on land proven to be owned by Palestinians. The families left after Netanyahu guaranteed them another west Bank community would be built for their needs. They have lived in mobile homes in a nearby community since their settlement was demolished.