West Bank  settlement - AP-  Jan. 24, 2011
The West Bank settlement of Ariel Photo by AP
Text size

The ministerial committee on settlement affairs decided Saturday night to approve the construction of hundreds of housing units in several West Bank settlements, a move that came in response to a deadly attack on a family of five in the settlement of Itamar on Friday.

The approval of further settlement building follows several long months wherein no construction was approved. The move involves measured construction of several hundred housing units within settlement blocs.

Some 500 housing units are due for construction in the settlements of Gush Etzion, Ma'ale Adumim, Ariel, and Kiryat Sefer.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak took part in the meeting on Saturday night. During the discussion, several alternatives to further settlement building were discussed, such as starting a new settlement, or widening the settlement of Itamar but the end the decision, supported by Barak, was to continue construction in settlement blocs.

The Fogel family was killed Friday night when a suspected terrorist broke into their home in the West Bank settlement of Itamar and stabbed them all to death.

The prime minister's office notified the White House on Saturday night of Israel's intention to approve new settlement construction. A government official said that this was a strategic decision to build in settlements that will remain in Israel's control in any possible peace agreement with the Palestinians.