Israel approves first new West Bank settlement in 25 years

Israel's decision to build the first new government-sanction settlement in a quarter-century elicited a 75-word condemnation from from UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday morning.

The official said the President's previous concerns about settlement activity being unhelpful to the peace process "remain the same". It appeared he was also compelled, however, to demonstrate paying heed to White House concerns that settlement building could pose an obstacle to a lasting peace with the Palestinians.

He said it will be built near Shiloh, close to the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank.

The statement said Netanyahu had told the Cabinet that 900 square kilometers (347 square miles) of land near Nablus had been declared state land to make way for the settlement.

Also Thursday, the security cabinet approved the first new settlement in decades for families evicted from the razed West Bank outpost of Amona.

Prime Minister Netanyahu promised a new settlement in December to the residents in return for them evacuating their homes in the Benjamin region peacefully. While Israel stopped establishing new settlements in the early 1990s, after the 1993 Oslo Accords were signed, some outposts constructed since then have been given retroactive approval, and existing settlements have expanded their geographical parameters.

Turkey condemned the decision. "He condemns all unilateral actions that, like the present one, threaten peace and undermine the two-state solution", Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

On the campaign trail, Mr. His platform made no mention of an independent Palestinian state, and his inner circle includes strong supporters of the settlement movement.

Trump had asked Netanyahu at a joint press conference last month to "hold back" on West Bank settlement construction.

United States and Israeli officials completed a round of talks on settlements last week without agreement, saying the discussions were ongoing. The official spoke on condition of anonymity. In a show of "good will", the prime minister said the government will only engage in limited construction going forward.

The announcement of the new settlement came two months after the Israeli army dismantled another Jewish community in the West Bank under orders from Israel's Supreme Court. But Israel has not built a full-fledged new settlement since the 1990s. This promise, said an American official, was made before Donald Trump set out his expectations about Israeli settlements, the implication being that in this case Netanyahu is not challenging Trump's call for restraint. Netanyahu's hard-line government, which is dominated by settler allies, recently passed legislation aimed at legalizing dozens of those outposts.

Samsung reports record $8.76 bn quarterly operating profit
Korea Calls U.S. Strikes on Syria "Unforgivable"