Palestinian laborers work on a construction site in a religious Jewish settlement in the West Bank. [File].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A Civil Administration committee approved retroactive zoning plans for four West Bank settlements, a move which legalized already existing homes in the authorized communities.
Two of the settlements, Sansana and Yakir are inside the route of the security barrier and the other two, Shiloh and Itamar are considered to be isolated settlements outside of the fence.
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan had lobbied for the legalization since taking office over the summer.
He made the request during his first phone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and he continued to lobby for it, particularly after Palestinian gunmen killed Eitam and Na’ama Henkin as they drove home in his region with their four children on October 1.
Dagan was startled when their death was not followed by an announcement of more building. The absence of new settler building approvals was one of the factors that swayed him to pitch a protest tent in front of Netanyahu’s office.
He was particularly concerned by Netanyahu’s failure to authorize a zoning plan for the Itamar settlement in Samaria despite pledging to do so after Palestinians infiltrated that community in 2011 and killed five members of the Fogel family.
A source close to Dagan said that he took down the protest tent only after securing a promise from Netanyahu to approve the Itamar zoning plan.
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On Thursday, Dagan said that the approvals right a small injustice that had been done to the residents of Judea and Samaria, because without the zoning planes, the homeowners lacked full rights with regard to their properties.
The buildings fell into a gray legal area because they were constructed in recognized settlements but had not been fully approve because of the absence of a zoning plan.
Those who live in Judea and Samaria, “give their all to the State of Israel and deserve the same right” as those who live in Tel Aviv and Ra’anana, Dagan said.
Peace Now executive director Yariv Oppenheimer said that, once again, Netanyahu has proved that he prefers settlers to peace.
“Once again Netanyahu has caved to the settlers. He approved building just to get rid of one protest tent,” Oppenheimer said.
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