Israeli flag flutters over settlement of Ofra 311 R.
(photo credit: Laszlo Balogh / Reuters)
The Ministry of Construction and Housing is poised in the next few days to issue tenders for new homes in West Bank settlements, including 294 in Betar Illit, 40 in Karnei Shomron and 40 in Efrat, Channel 10 reported on Sunday.
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MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) immediately slammed the move.
She accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of pandering to his “coalition of settlers” instead of looking out for the nation’s diplomatic interests. Such action, she warned, will “torpedo” any efforts to negotiate with the Palestinians and will only serve to further isolate Israel.
MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) welcomed the measure and said that he hoped it was the beginning of the end of the “silent construction freeze” in the major settlement blocs.
The Defense Ministry approved the projects in April.
The publication of tenders by the Housing Ministry simply implements that decision.
A spokesman for the ministry said that the projects in question had been on hold for months. He added that he did not know of any specific plans to publish tenders for them, but that he would not be surprised if such tenders were issued soon. He warned, however, that publication of the tenders was not certain and could still take some time.