Modiin Illit construction 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen)
The Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria has advanced plans for 5,170
new settler homes since Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s third term in office
began in March, according to Peace Now.
The three-month time span in
Peace Now’s report also covers the period during which US Secretary of State
John Kerry traveled to the Middle East six times as part of his massive effort
to rekindle direct Israeli-Palestinian talks, which largely have been frozen
“The new government speaks about two states; meanwhile on the
ground they are doing exactly the opposite,” said Peace Now.
its report just a few days after Kerry announced that talks between Israel and
the Palestinians would be resumed.
Settlers fear Netanyahu will agree to
some form of a settlement freeze either as a prelude to talks or to help foster
a conducive climate for negotiations.
The Council of Jewish Communities
of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip plans to hold a joint meeting Tuesday with
the Land of Israel Knesset lobby group to discuss their opposition to what they
believe are three components of renewed talks: a settlement freeze, the release
of Palestinian prisoners and the pre- 1967 lines as a basis for
In particular, settlers note that while the Higher Planning
Council might be advancing settlement projects in Judea and Samaria, few have
Settlers have complained that a de facto freeze on the
publication of tenders in West Bank settlements and Jewish neighborhoods of east
Jerusalem has been in place since February.
Last week, Defense Minister
Moshe Ya’alon pulled plans for 320 new homes in isolated settlements in the
Jordan Valley and the Binyamin region from the Higher Planning Council’s agenda,
thus sparking rumors of a freeze outside the settlement blocs.
won’t succeed in harming the settlement enterprise, the council said in response
to the report, as it noted that its population had almost tripped in the last 20
Peace Now, however, said it took the advancement of so many plans
Since March, it noted, Ya’alon has initially approved 1,507
new settler homes, all of which were outside of the security barrier’s planned
It is possible, said the organization, that the number of
approvals he signed are even higher.
“We call on the government not to
approve any new plans and any construction in settlements, [and to] truly give
peace a chance,” Peace Now said.