The Defense Ministry has advanced plans to build 346 housing units in the West
Bank’s Gush Etzion region, area council head Davidi Perl reported on
The plans for 200 new homes in Tekoa and 146 in Nokdim were
pushed forward a few weeks ago, but he and the council only publicized the
information on Thursday, he said.
The news broke at the same time that
the UN Human Rights Council lifted its embargo on a report condemning Israeli
settlement building and calling on Israel to withdraw from the West
Israel considers Gush Etzion to be a settlement bloc that will
remain part of the country in any final-status agreement with the Palestinians
for a two-state solution.
But the Nokdim and Tekoa settlements are
located in the eastern part of that region, outside the boundaries of the
Perl said he had been led to believe that the plans
would be approved once the bureaucratic process was complete.
this month, the Construction and Housing Ministry issued tenders for 114
apartments in the Efrat settlement, also in Gush Etzion. It also issued tenders
for 84 units in the Kiryat Arba settlement adjacent to Hebron, right outside
This follows a December decision to advance plans for 523
homes in a new neighborhood of Gush Etzion’s Alon Shvut settlement known as
The Gush Etzion Regional Council hopes eventually to receive
permits to build thousands of homes in Gevaot, enabling it to become the fifth
Jewish city in the West Bank.
Perl said he welcomed outgoing Defense
Minister Ehud Barak’s decision to expand settlements in the eastern part of his
Perl, a Likud member, said that no matter who the coalition
partners were, he believed Netanyahu would continue to be a significant force to
promote, develop and strengthen the settlement enterprise.
Hagit Ofran of
Peace Now said that Barak had advanced plans for more than 8,000 units during
his tenure in office. He has now chosen to leave his job, by pushing forward
another harmful set of plans in isolated settlements beyond the security
barrier, she said.
“It’s a testimony to his true legacy as defense
minister,” she declared.