The Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria discusses plans on Tuesday to build more homes in the West Bank..
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
The Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria in the last two days has advanced plans to build 1,200 settler homes and is expected to move forward on at least another 1,800 units on Wednesday.
Separately, the Construction Ministry on Tuesday published a tender for 300 homes in the Beit El settlement that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pledged to build five years ago.
Settler leaders wasted no time in expressing relief at Tuesday’s approvals, while others expressed frustration that only a fraction of the homes can actually be built at this time.
The office of Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan has estimated, that when the council ends its three days of meetings on Wednesday, it will be possible to build only 700 of the units it discussed.
Dagan is also frustrated that the council is not approving new bypass roads. On Wednesday morning, he plans to hold a small protest in front of the Prime Minister’s Residence in the capital.
Beit El council head Shai Alon said this was the first time in 10 years that his community of 6,115 people had received approvals for new housing.
There are many young couples who want to move here, he said of his community, which is perched on the northeastern edge of Ramallah.
“We have developed in every field: education, tourism and business. It’s only when it comes to construction that we have stood still,” Alon said.
“We hope these 300 homes will pave the way for more approvals,” he added.
Hebron Hills Regional Council head Yochai Damri thanked Netanyahu for advancing plans for 102 homes in Negohot, explaining that he was following in the footsteps of former prime minister Menahem Begin.
Left-wing group Peace Now protested the council’s actions.
“The government has gone wild with settlement plans deep in the West Bank for thousands of new settlers, whom Israel will have to evacuate in a two-state solution agreement.
“Faced with the growing pressures and investigations, Netanyahu goes out of his way to prove how radical he is, without considering the consequences of massive settlement expansion on the future of the twostate solution,” Peace Now said.
According to Peace Now the housing plans advanced also include: 135 homes for Avnei Hefetz, 97 for Rehalim, 57 for Tzofim, 56 for Barkan, 120 for Nofim, 27 for Maskiot, 55 for Tomer, eight for Beit Aryeh, 146 for Nokdim, 44 for Kfar Etzion, 68 for Elazar, and 10 for Har Adar.
In 106 of the cases – 45 homes in Negohot and 61 homes in Rehalim – the plans would retroactively legalize existing structures.
Only the homes in Nokdim and Rehalim involve final approvals.
In addition, 50 student housing units were advanced for Nofim and plans for 300 homes for the elderly were advanced for Kfar Etzion.
The Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria has also approved construction of 17 modular units to house the 17 families from Netiv Ha’avot who are slated to lose their homes in March as the result of a ruling by the High Court of Justice.
On Monday, the council approved the construction of a 31-unit apartment complex for the Hebron Jewish community.
Channel 2 reported that Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman intends to advance a plan for West Bank settlement that involves “smart fences” and bypass roads, but has yet to secure the necessary NIS 3 billion in funding.