Plans published for 90 homes in Beit El settlement

Plans published for new units as part of compensation plan for the evacuation of the Ulpana outpost; settler leadership lauds, Peace Now condemns move.

February 11, 2013 22:24
2 minute read.
Ulpana outpost near Beit El

Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)


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The IDF on Friday published plans for the construction of 90 homes in the Beit El settlement in a move that was condemned by Peace Now and lauded by the settler leadership on Monday.

The homes are part of an overall plan for 300 new units in the settlement that was approved by the government as part of its agreement with 30 families in the adjacent Ulpana outpost in exchange for the peaceful evacuation of their homes over the summer.

But the IDF’s Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria must now approve a zoning plan for the homes.

If no objections are filed, than the plans for the 90 housing units will automatically be authorized. The process is expected to move forward smoothly.

Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said that these are the first approvals for new settler homes since last month’s election.

The planning council approvals and all other settlement building authorizations should be put on hold until a new government is formed, Ofran said.

By moving forward on West Bank Jewish building, “Netanyahu has shown once more that he is determined to push forward with settlement construction,” she said.

But the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip noted that the council authorizations were technical, as these were homes approved by the former Netanyahu government.

“We welcome all building and we hope it will solve some of the housing problem,” the council said.

"The Palestinian position is clear. There can be no negotiation while settlement continues," Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said in response to the new Beit El construction.

Most countries consider Israel's settlements illegal. Israel disputes this, citing historical and Biblical links to the land.

In Washington, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said she had not seen the announcement but repeated the Obama administration's opposition to such settlement building.

"Our position on this has not changed. We don't think it's helpful," Nuland told reporters at her daily briefing.

There are now more than 325,000 settlers in the West Bank, with a further 200,000 living in eastJerusalem, which was annexed by Israel after 1967 in a move not recognized internationally.

It is claimed by the Palestinians as their capital city.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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