The West Bank Settlement of Givat Ze'ev.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Advancement of plans for new settler homes is a war crime PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat on Wednesday after the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria met to discuss 228 such units.
Such activity “continues to entrench Israel’s colonial occupation and destroys the prospects of two independent states living side by side in peace and security on the 1967 border.”
He called on the international community to hold Israel accountable for the action.
Palestinians later this month plan to submit a resolution condemning settlement activity to the United Nations Security Council.
Israel believes that it has a right to continue to build in Area C of the West Bank which is under its military and civilian control.
The Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria has met monthly since the start of the year and already had moved ahead with plans for 499 new settlers homes prior to the April meeting.
The new plans include 34 homes in Tekoa, 70 in Nokdim, 76 in Givat Ze’ev and 48 in Modi’in Illit.
The total, to date, of at least 727 new homes outpaces the 621 such units that were advanced in all of 2015, according to data from the Higher Planing Council and Peace Now, which earlier this week released a report on the accelerated rate of planing for new homes in West Bank settlements.
In the first three months of the year, planning for homes in 11 other settlements were advanced, including Etz Efraim (34), Rechalim (36), Alon Shvut (60), Ofarim (30), Rotem (164), Oranit (24), Alfei Menashe (24), Tene (7), Kiryat Arba (24), Ma’aleh Adumim (46) and Talmon (50).
Seven of the 15 communities are considered to be “isolated settlements” because they are located in areas of the West Bank that are outside the boundaries of the security barrier.
Work also was done at the Higher Planing Council on Wednesday to retroactively legalize 54 homes in the Har Bracha settlement and 17 in the Revava settlement, according to the Samaria Regional Council.
All totaled this year, work has been done to retroactively legalize 246 new homes. In 2015, the Higher Planning Council retroactively legalized 1,044 illegal homes, according to Peace Now.
Settler leaders welcomed the council’s work but continued to say the units did not begin to meet demand and that many were part of old projects.
The communities in Judea and Samaria are operating with their “hands tied behind their backs,” said Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, who called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to normalize construction in Judea and Samaria and to allow it to build according to the needs of its population.