Gov't to approve 551 new housing units in West Bank

Housing and construction minister says new homes to be built in addition to 300 in Beit El; PM says the gov't is acting responsibly in decision to evacuate West Bank Ulpana outpost, strengthening settlement enterprise.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 370 (photo credit: GPO / Amos Ben-Gershom)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 370
(photo credit: GPO / Amos Ben-Gershom)
Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias announced Wednesday evening that his ministry would approve the construction of 551 housing units in the West Bank.
They will comprise 117 units in Ariel, 92 in Ma'aleh Adumim, 114 in Adam, 114 in Efrat and 84 in Kiryat Arba. The new housing units will be built in addition to the three hundred that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has already promised to build in Beit El following the evacuation of the apartment buildings in the West Bank outpost Ulpana.
This decision was reached in a conversation Wednesday between Netanyahu and Atias.
"Increasing the supply of land helps young couples, and construction in the West Bank strengthens the settlements. Although 30 apartments will be evacuated, 850 will be built instead. Under the circumstances, this is the appropriate solution," said Atias.
Earlier Wednesday, in a televised statement Netanyahu said that the government is in the midst of a very complex environment, and is upholding democracy and strengthening the overall settlement enterprise in its decision over the Ulpana outpost.
A bill to legalize the West Bank outpost was defeated by a vote of 69-22 on Wednesday.
Netanyahu said that the government had acted with responsibility and discretion, and thanked his coalitions partners.
He expressed sympathy for the pain of the families living in the Ulpana outpost who are due to be evacuated. However, he said, "you have to understand, we are working in a very complex reality; internally, internationally and in terms of the law."
He emphasized that his government would continue to strengthen the settlements, at the same time as strengthening democracy in Israel.