Plans deposited for 296 new homes in Beit El settlement

Public has window of 60-days in which it may register objections, before plans receive final approval from council; Ya’alon will need to sign off on plans before construction can begin, Civil Administration says.

Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)
The Defense Ministry on Wednesday approved for deposit plans for the construction of 296 homes in the West Bank settlement of Beit El with the Higher Planning Council of Judea and Samaria.
The Civil Administration must now advertise the plans in a newspaper, after which begins a 60-day period for the public to register objections, before the plans receive final approval from the council.
According to the Civil Administration, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon will need to sign off on the final plans before construction can begin.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised to build the homes in June, as part of a deal reached with 33 families living in the Ulpana outpost located at the outskirts of the settlement, whose homes were slated for demolition as the result of a High Court of Justice ruling.
The settlers agreed to leave their homes without physical resistance, in exchange for a pledge by government officials to build 296 new homes.
News that the plans had been deposited came amidst a flurry of renewed diplomatic activity to re-start direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
It also comes amidst a claim by settlers that Netanyahu has frozen new construction tenders for public housing projects in four settlements; Efrat, Ariel, Givat Ze’ev and Karnei Shomron.
Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said that freezing tenders for government-funded projects in the settlements has a very limited impact on West Bank settlement activity.
Much of the construction is private and does not require tenders, she said.
There are many settlement-building projects in the pipeline, which have all their approvals, she added.
Yigal DelMonti, a spokesman for the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, said he didn’t understand why every bureaucratic step of the building process made headlines.
The project, he said, had already been announced, and approvals had not been given.
“There is nothing new here,” he said.
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, however, described the move as proof that Israel is trying to sabotage US efforts to revive the peace process, Israel Radio reported. staff contributed to this report