Netanyahu Accused After Legalising Settlements [View all]
Israel has legalised three outposts in a move that critics say effectively establishes the first new Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land in more than 20 years.
It immediately sparked condemnation from the Palestinians, who accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of pushing the peace process into another deadlock.
Israel's decision will also anger the international community, to which it has pledged repeatedly to dismantle unsanctioned outposts and refrain from approving new settlements, widely viewed as the main obstacle to an independent Palestinian state.
Instead, the current administration, dominated by hawkish pro-settler parties, has scrambled to find legal loopholes to evade court orders demanding the eviction of settlers from communities deemed illegal under Israeli law, and tighten Jewish control over the West Bank, claimed by the Palestinians as the basis of their future state.