Finance minister says Israel to promote West Bank settlement

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's hard-line finance minister said on Thursday that the government would promote West Bank settlements and punitive measures against the Palestinian Authority in response to Palestinian moves against Israel on the international stage.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who heads a pro-settler party, said in a statement that the government supported his proposal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, which usually announces cabinet-level decisions, did not issue any statements and was not reachable for immediate comment.

Among the steps Smotrich said he was advancing was the revoking of "various approvals and benefits" for senior officials in the Palestinian Authority, approving new settlement buildings, and retroactively sanctioning some Jewish settlements.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Steven Scheer; Editing by Matthew Lewis)