new houses in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Bruchin near the Palestinian town of Nablus,
New houses in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Bruchin near the Palestinian town of Nablus
Photo: AP
Israeli settlement of Rahalim, located near the village of Yatma, south of Nablus

Israeli body to OK settlement homes after U.S. condemnation

COGAT confirms Defense Ministry’s higher planning council met to authorize the housing units a day after Washington said that it was 'deeply concerned' about Israel’s plans to advance new settlement homes

Associated Press |
Published: 10.27.21, 14:43
An Israeli committee convened Wednesday to approve 2,800 new settler homes in the West Bank, a day after the Biden administration issued its strongest condemnation yet of Israeli settlement construction.
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  • The Defense Ministry’s higher planning council, which authorizes West Bank construction, met to authorize the housing units, with more than half of them getting final approval before building starts. The start of the meeting was confirmed by the Israeli defense body COGAT.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
    Israeli settlement of Rahalim, located near the village of Yatma, south of Nablus
    Israeli settlement of Rahalim, located near the village of Yatma, south of Nablus
    Israeli settlement of Rahalim, located near the village of Yatma, south of Nablus
    (Photo: AFP)
    Approval of the new construction is bound to raise friction with the United States and Europe, anger the Palestinians and test Israel’s fragile governing coalition, made up of ultra-nationalists, centrists and dovish parties that oppose settlements.
    On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said that it was “deeply concerned” about Israel’s plans to advance new settlement homes, including many deep inside the West Bank.
    “We strongly oppose the expansion of settlements, which is completely inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions and to ensure calm and damages the prospects for a two-state solution,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington.
    The Palestinians seek the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — areas Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war — for their future state. The Palestinians view the settlements, which house some 700,000 Israelis, as the main obstacle to peace, and most of the international community considers them illegal.
    Israel views the West Bank, home to more than 2.5 million Palestinians, as the biblical and historical heartland of the Jewish people.
    2 צפייה בגלריה
     new houses in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Bruchin near the Palestinian town of Nablus,
     new houses in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Bruchin near the Palestinian town of Nablus,
    New houses in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Bruchin near the Palestinian town of Nablus
    (Photo: AP)
    The committee was also supposed to approve 1,600 housing units for Palestinians who live in areas of the West Bank that are under full Israeli control, outside the enclaves administered by a Palestinian autonomy government. Palestinians and rights groups say those homes are a small fraction of demand.
    On Sunday, Israel announced construction tenders for 1,355 housing units in the West Bank, the first move of its kind since President Joe Biden assumed office pledging to take a harder line on the settlements. It also appeared to run contrary to the new Israeli coalition government’s own vows to reduce tensions with the Palestinians.
    The move drew condemnation from the Palestinians, dovish members of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s diverse governing coalition, the EU and the U.S.
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