Israel to Advance Plans for 2,000 Homes in West Bank Settlements

In the works are new housing units as well as the legalization of units in illegal outposts – including in the Jerusalem area and the Jordan Valley

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התנחלות אלון מורה, ב-2016. במועצה ידונו ב-107 יחידות בהתנחלות
Alon More settlement, West Bank, 2016. Credit: Majdi Mohammed/אי־פי

The Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank is expected to move ahead this week on Defense Minister Naftali Bennett’s plan to construct 2,000 homes in settlements. The administration’s planning committee is to discuss the construction of new units as well as the retroactive legalization of illegal units throughout the West Bank – including in the Jordan Valley.

The committee will discuss 258 units in an outpost near the settlement of Talmon, a few kilometers northwest of Ramallah. Some of these units have already been constructed illegally, and will be retroactively legalized. Talmon is near Bubin Spring, where a 17-year-old Israeli civilian was killed by a roadside bomb in August.

In the same area, Israel is attempting to legalize the outpost of Harasha, but has come across difficulties as a legal settlement must have a road, and the existing road crosses private Palestinian land. In 2017, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit issued a legal opinion by which private Palestinian land could be expropriated for public use by settlements.

The committee will also discuss 147 housing units in Mitzpeh Yeriho in the Jordan Valley. This plan also includes retroactively legalizing existing units that were constructed illegally. The housing in Mitzpeh Yeriho is at the most advanced stage of planning, just before approval is granted.

The committee is also expected to discuss 100 housing units in the settlement of Neveh Tzuf and the construction of 534 new housing units and 12 commercial units in the central West Bank settlement of Shilo. Also on the agenda is new construction in the settlements of Givat Ze’ev north of Jerusalem, as well as in Ma’aleh Adumim, Ma’aleh Michmash, Almon and Kokhav Ya’akov, all east of Jerusalem, and industrial construction in the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Immanuel.