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Israel to consider proposals to 'strengthen' Jewish settlements in West Bank

The Israeli settlement of Har Homa is seen overlooking the biblical town of Bethlehem, West Bank. On Sunday, Israel said it will consider proposals on how to strengthen such settlements in response to countries recently recognizing the state of Palestine. File Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI
The Israeli settlement of Har Homa is seen overlooking the biblical town of Bethlehem, West Bank. On Sunday, Israel said it will consider proposals on how to strengthen such settlements in response to countries recently recognizing the state of Palestine. File Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI | License Photo

June 17 (UPI) -- Israel's Security Cabinet is considering proposals to "strengthen" Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank in response to several nations recently taking the mostly symbolic step to recognize a state of Palestine.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has instructed for all proposals be summited for a vote by the Security Cabinet sometime next week.

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The cabinet will also consider a series of responses against the Palestinian Authority, the de facto government of Palestinian territories, "following its actions against Israel" in international bodies, the prime minister's office said in a statement without specifying the alleged transgressions,

Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights are widely regarded as illegal under international law.

Some 700,00 Jewish settlers are estimated to live in the West Bank.

Israel announced the vague punitive measures after the four European nations of Slovenia, Norway, Spain and Ireland formally recognized a Palestinian state since late last month, with other nations potentially considering doing the same.

A total 147 nations of the 193 U.N. member nations have formally recognized a Palestinian nation, meaning they acknowledge Palestine by its border of 1967, which include the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

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Israel has responded to the countries move to recognize Palestine by accusing them or rewarding Hamas for its war crimes while emboldening the militia's benefactor, Iran.

Tensions between Palestinians and settlers in the occupied West Bank have skyrocketed amid Israel's war against Iran-backed Hamas in Gaza.

The United States has repeatedly warned about the escalating violence and has imposed sanctions against those accused of being responsible.

According to a recent update from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 508 Palestinians, including 124 children, have been killed in the West Bank since the war began. The vast majority were killed by Israeli soldiers. Ten were killed by Israeli settlers with another seven being unconfirmed.

Correction: Figures on Palestinian deaths in the West Bank has been clarified to show that the majority were killed by Israeli soldiers.

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