Israel delays approval of thousands of West Bank settlement homes

Settlement council officials slam Gantz for delaying approval of 4,000 housing units to accommodate rapid population growth in the area and increased demand for homes, including in isolated settlements and Haredi areas

Elisha Ben Kimon|
Israel is said to have delayed the approval of construction of thousand of houses in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
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  • The Yesha Council, an umbrella organization of municipal councils of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, said the plan to build 4,000 new in the area still hasn't been approved by Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
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    בני גנץ בריאיון לynet
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    Defense Minister Benny Gantz
    (Photo: Dana Kopel)
    The plan, already approved by the West Bank settlement councils, includes a gradual construction of new housing units throughout the West Bank.
    Although the new plan represents an increase in the number of housing units that were previously discussed in construction committees, the regional council claims this compensates for overdue construction projects that have been put off.
    Aside from construction in the populated settlement blocs, the plan aims to add housing units in the more isolated settlements to meet the growing demand of population growth. In addition, the plan also includes about a thousand housing units meant for the ultra-Orthodox sector in the area.
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    The West Bank settlement of Kdumim
    The West Bank settlement of Kdumim
    The West Bank settlement of Kdumim
    (Photo: EPA)
    The plan must receive the approval from Gantz before construction can proceed. Representatives of the settlements criticized him for playing politics at their expense.
    Yesha Council Chairman David Elhayani said there was growing need for housing.There are about half a million residents who live here and want to continue living here, and more young families from all over the country asking to move here. We aren't any different from Tel Aviv and Be'er Sheva.
    "The government doesn't have the right to exist," Elhayani said after Gantz seemed to ignore the demands of settlement officials and put off construction plans for months.
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