The Civil Administration is set to advance plans for 1,303 Palestinian homes in Area C of the West Bank on Monday morning, but only 170 are likely to be approved.
It marks the first advancement of Palestinian housing projects since Prime Minister Naftali Bennett took office in May and is part of a series of gestures his government has made to the Palestinians. But of the projected number only 170 homes in Khirbet Abdallah Younas near Jenin, or 13%, are expected to receive final approval.
The other plans to be advanced include 270 homes in Al-Ma’assara village in the Bethlehem area, 233 homes in Almasqufa in the Tulkarm area, and 200 in Dkeika in the South Hebron Hills.
In addition, the council will debate plans in the Jenin area for 160 homes in Abba a-Sharqiya and 270 in Bir al-basha.
The advancement of Palestinian building in Area C, has been linked to last week’s Higher Council meeting to advance plans for 3,130 settler homes. Of these nearly 60% were approved. Separately the Construction and Housing Ministry published tenders for 1,355 Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.
The council’s advancement of Palestinian building, reflects only a fraction of the housing construction needed.
Right-wing politicians and setters leaders have opposed the advancement of Palestinian homes in Area C, which is under Israeli military and civilian rule. They have held that Area C should be part of sovereign Israel and that Palestinian housing in that area helps ensure that the territory will be part of a future Palestinian state.
The international community, which believes that settlement building in Area C prevents its inclusion in the borders of a future Palestinian state, has condemned Israeli settlement plans.
On Friday European Union spokesman Peter Stano said, “settlements are illegal under international law and constitute a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between the parties.
“The European Union has consistently made clear that it is strongly opposed to the expansion of settlements and will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.
“We renew our call upon the Government of Israel to reverse these steps which are completely inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions and to ensure calm, to halt settlement construction, and to focus on furthering meaningful re-engagement between the parties, advancing confidence-building measures and improving living conditions for ordinary people, which are urgently needed,” Stano said.
Separately, 12 European countries issued a statement against settlement building on Thursday, as did the United Kingdom and Russia. The United States has also opposed the Israeli advancement of settler building, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking with Defense Minister Benny Gantz about the matter prior to the Higher Planing Council’s meeting last week.