Israel Approves 384 New Homes in West Bank Settlements

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Aerial photo of West Bank showing Jewish settlements to the right of the separation wall and Palestinian homes to the left.
Aerial photo of West Bank showing Jewish settlements to the right of the separation wall and Palestinian homes to the left. Credit: Lefteris Pitarakis /AP

Israel's Civil Administration approved Wednesday the construction of 384 new housing units in the West Bank, some in relatively isolated settlements.

This is the final approval needed for the construction, which can begin without delay, according to the Civil Administration.

The Administration discussed the construction plans for several hundred more homes, but these still require further permissions from the Higher Planning Council.

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In addition, plans were advanced Wednesday for an expansion of a residential neighborhood in Kiryat Netafim settlement by an additional 84 housing units, the construction of 29 housing units in Otniel and 52 units in Beit El. These plans are pending further approvals.

The council also discussed the planning of hundreds of new housing units in Adam settlement (also known as Geva Binyamin). Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed to build 400 new units there following the murder of Yotam Ovadia at this settlement last month.

The Civil Administration council was also meant to advance Wednesday the legalization of two outposts, but these were taken off the agenda at the last moment. The first is a small outpost established by the Haroeh Ha’ivri (“the Hebrew shepherd”) nonprofit association, near the Kfar Adumim settlement — with, as Haaretz revealed, Education Ministry and public funding. The second outpost that was to be discussed for legalization is the larger Ibei Hanahal outpost in Gush Etzion, which has 98 housing units.

Meretz Chairwoman MK Tamar Zandberg said in response that the decision to add additional housing units in West Bank settlements "is like sticking a finger in the eye of any possible peace process. The government doesn't care about Israeli interests, only about the interests of settlers."

The Yesha Council, an umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, expressed its disappointment of the approval of "such few" new housing units. "This is a scant number of housing units, the smallest to have been approved in the past 18 months," the Yseha Council said.

Previously, the Council said, "the number of building permits was between 2,000 and 3,000 housing units, which was also a relatively small number compared to the total number of permits in the entire country, that stands at tens of thousands of housing units."

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