Israeli ministers to debate bill forcing government to approve settlement construction
Under the proposal, Israel's construction and housing minister would be obligated to publish annual tenders for construction in West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is scheduled to debate a bill on Sunday that would obligate the government to authorize building in the 10 largest settlements in accordance with their "natural development."
Under the proposal, Israel's construction and housing minister would be obligated to publish annual tenders for construction in Ma'aleh Adumim, Ariel, Betar Ilit, Modi'in Ilit, Alfei Menashe, Efrat, Karnei Shomron, Beit Aryeh, Oranit and Kiryat Arba.
The defense minister would still retain the right to approve these plans, but under the bill, "If the defense minister does not approve them within 30 days ... they will be considered approved."
In the explanatory notes, the bill's sponsors - MK Yaakov Katz (National Union), Yariv Levin (Likud) and David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu) - said they drew up the bill because Defense Minister Ehud Barak has not approved any building in the settlements since the government's building freeze in the settlements expired 14 months ago.
They also noted that "natural development" was a term coined by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to define a basic human need in these communities, a need that he had promised to fulfill.
The sponsors wrote: "It is herewith proposed that the government of Israel uphold the basic rights of the residents of Judea and Samaria to housing and normal development, as it allows for the rest of Israel's citizens."