Israel Plans on Approving Over 900 New Settlement Homes in West Bank

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The Civil Administration’s Supreme Planning Council is to meet Wednesday morning to approve the construction of over 900 new homes in the West Bank.

The largest plan is for 732 units in Modi’in Ilit, a plan that was okayed by former Defense Minister Ehud Barak in January. This plan is at an advanced stage of authorization, so if the defense minister permits, construction could start shortly.

The adjacent Palestinian village of Dir Qadis objected to the plan, claiming that some of the construction was slated to take place on its lands. But last month, the planning council rejected the village’s objections, saying there was no private land involved.

Other, smaller plans are being approved for isolated settlements. Shiloh will be getting 17 homes, whose construction had previously been stopped by a High Court of Justice injunction.

This retroactive approval is essentially a gift from the state to Ze’ev Hever, secretary general of Amana, the movement that started building the homes without a permit. The construction itself is the subject of an ongoing police investigation.

But it isn’t clear whether any police representatives will come to the council hearing to find out who takes responsibility for the illegal construction.

Thirty-eight units in Kokhav Yaakov, near Ramallah, will also be getting retroactive approval. The settlement is home to Avi Roeh, chairman of the Yesha Council of settlements.

“After years in which the plan, and the change in parcellation, have been stuck in the Civil Administration, the time has come for the kibbutz to continue its trend of absorption and development and add families and returning children to the valley,” said David Elhayani, chairman of the Jordan Valley Regional Council. “This is welcome news that will strengthen the valley.”

Construction in the West Bank settlement of Modi’in Ilit.Credit: AP

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