Israel to Approve Construction of 886 Settlement Units in West Bank

TEL AVIV, July 22, 2015 (WAFA) – The Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank is set to approve the construction of a total of 886 new housing units in illegal West Bank settlements, the Israeli daily Haaretz revealed on Wednesday.

It said among the permits to be issued by the Civil Administration’s planning and building committee on Thursday is approval for the construction of 296 units in Beit El, to be built on the site of an Israeli Border Police base that will be evacuated.

The permits, according to the daily, are seen as being part of an attempt by “Defense” Minister Moshe Ya’alon to appease settler leaders following a High Court ruling that two illegal structures in the settlement of Beit El must be demolished.

In other parts of the West Bank, 112 new units are to be built in Ma’ale Adumim, while in Givat Zeev, 381 new units will be built in a 152-dunam area in the neighborhood known as Agan Ha’ayalot, and will be earmarked for an ultra-Orthodox population.

In the settlement of Psagot, 24 buildings that are already standing will be retroactively approved, said Haartez.

Another 22 buildings that were originally constructed illegally are to be retroactively approved in Giv’on, near Givat Ze’ev, as well as another 179 units built 20 years ago by Amana in the settlement of Ofarim, Haaretz added. In the settlement of Beit Arieh, construction of 27 units are to be approved as well.

Prior to his re-election in the Israeli elections last March, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to step up settlement construction and expansion in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, and said there would be no Palestinian state if he was re-elected.

Only a month after his fourth term in office, Netanyahu’s government gave the green light for the construction of 900 new housing units in East Jerusalem illegal Israeli settlement Ramat Shlomo.

Settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including Jerusalem, are considered illegal under international law.

Israel has said all of Jerusalem will forever be its capital, citing historical, religious and security reasons. But the international community, including the US, does not recognize Israel’s annexation of the eastern sector of the contested city.