Israel approves over 1000 new West Bank settlement homes
THOMAS COEX (AFP/File)
Israel has approved more than 1,100 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, the Peace Now NGO said Thursday, the latest in a raft of such moves by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
The approvals were given on Wednesday by a defense ministry committee with authority over settlement construction.
Earlier this week, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman delivered a statement saying that construction of about 1,200 homes and proposals to build another 2,500 would be approved on Wednesday. However, according to the Times of Israel he appeared to exaggerate figures as a bid to appease pro-settler demands.
Three hundred and fifty-two homes received final approval, while the others are at an earlier stage in the process, Hagit Ofran of Peace Now, which monitors settlement building, told AFP.
According to Ofran, the majority of the approvals are for settlements deep in the West Bank that Israel would probably need to evacuate as part of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"It's a part of the general trend that the government is doing, which is to build all over the West Bank, even more in places that Israel would need to evict, and in this way to torpedo the possibility for a two-state solution," she said.
Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said Israel "continues with its plan to bury all the chances of a political settlement", while alleging that it is being "encouraged" by US President Donald Trump's administration.
Roughly a third of the plans announced had either previously been announced or were not under the remit of the planning authorities’ current decision.
The plan included a package of building permits for the seven out of fifteen homes assigned for demolition in the Netiv Ha’avot outpost in March 2018. Back in November the High Court of Justice sided with a petition filed by Peace Now settlement watch dog, rejecting a call from residents seeking to spare six homes ordered for demolition by razing the “problematic parts” of the homes. The structures were said to be built on privately owned Palestinian lands.
The largest plan passed was for 204 homes in the Oranit settlement that straddles the Green Line east of Kfar Saba.
In a statement responding to the authorizations, the Peace Now called them “a dangerous security and diplomatic move on the road to the emergence of apartheid in Israel.”
However these recently announced plans are a considerable decrease from those issued in October.
Settlement authorizations follow the drive-by shooting incident where father of six Rabbi Raziel Shevach was gunned down while travelling on Route 60 that crosses the West Bank from North to South near the wildcat outpost of Havat Gilad.
The funeral of the slain Rabbi ignited fresh calls by right wing lawmakers for increased settlement building in response to the murder.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who delivered a eulogy at the funeral, was interrupted by repeated calls for “revenge” by mourners, to which he responded, “the only revenge is to keep building.”
“Our enemies think that they can make us desert the land. Their terror stems from the hope that if they kill one more Jew or throw one more rock, that we will break in the end,” he continued. “We will extinguish that hope by building families and building communities.”
Samaria Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, echoing Bennett’s calls said it was now the time for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to revise his settlement policy so that, “not every meter of building will be a debate.” Whilst head of Samaria Regional Council Yossi Dagan called on the the government to, “restore national pride” through its recognition of Havat Gilad, Shevach’s home. as an official settlement, the Times of Israel wrote.
According to Peace Now, 6,742 housing projects were approved in the settlements last year, the highest figure since 2013.
Israeli settlements are seen as illegal under international law and major obstacles to peace as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state.
Prominent members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing government openly oppose Palestinian statehood.
Israel faced sharp criticism from the administration of former US president Barack Obama over settlement construction, but that has not been the case with US President Donald Trump's White House and Israeli officials have sought to take advantage of his backing.
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idiots don't even know what apparently is. Israel is not a minority ruling over a majority. these anti-Semitic scumbags will use any lie they can to help the fake palistinians
If my following statment is TRUE, then they might be a solution to AREA C ( Im not calling ocupied territories, becouse I think its a wrong term ) ..NOT ALL the palestinians who do today live in that area, are bloody ennemies of Israe, ( some criss and make a living in Israel ) they Are SOME ( even not permited by theire own to express some kind of simpathy ) ..but i GUESS theyre some, so ? if my statment is TRUE, then perhaps there is a possible way future out of this recurring problem ! If as long as IsrEl builds " settlements" HOW about also building SOME for those who are not hostile, then theyll recognize trough theyre life improvment to perhaps be a mosel of TRUE development and balace in the AREA A way our of the cinflict trough REAL development .