Netanyahu Announces Promotion of 300 Housing Units in West Bank Settlement of Beit El by September

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A general view of the Israeli settlement of Beit El near Ramallah in the West Bank, February 16, 2017.
A general view of the Israeli settlement of Beit El near Ramallah in the West Bank, February 16, 2017.Credit: Tsafrir Abayov/AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the head of the Beit El regional council that he will promote the construction of 300 housing units in the settlement by September.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu refused to state a deadline for the housing units during a meeting with the regional council head, Shai Alon. Netanyahu's announcement comes after a string of senior politicians including Education Minister Naftali Bennett and former minister Gideon Sa'ar, expressed their support for the Beit El residents' protest.

The residents of Beit El have set up a protest tent encampment in Jerusalem to protest the government's refusal to build more housing units in the settlement.  During a visit with the protesting settlers, Sa'ar said "A promise to build 300 housing units in Beit El was given. Promises must be kept, this a promise repeated two years ago." According to an official in the regional council the promise to build the units was originally given five years ago, but had since been delayed and delayed.

According to the Beit El regional council, the housing units have already passed through all the bureaucratic hurdles needed and all that remains now is their sale ahead of construction. This is the final stage which would allow the bulldozers to begin working. A source in the regional council told Haaretz that the settlers are "still unhappy" since there is no reason not to start selling the units right now. That being said, the source said, the announcement by the prime minister is a step forward.

Earlier this month, the planning and building committee of the Israel Defense Forces' Civil Administration approved the promotion of 2,100 housing units throughout the West Bank, 1,500 of these within the settlement blocs and the rest outside them. Settler leaders were disappointed by this expecting more units would be approved.

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