'Construction and Housing Ministry plans to enlarge W. Bank settlements'

When Prime Minister-designate and Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu manages to form a government, the new construction and housing minister will receive plans for significantly enlarging West Bank settlements, Army Radio reported on Monday morning. According to the plans, which were formulated by Construction and Housing Ministry officials over the last few years, some 73 thousand housing units will be built, including 19,000 apartments in Jewish settlements on the Palestinian side of the security barrier, the radio station said. More than 3,000 of the new housing units are expected to be built in the disputed E1 region, between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim. Ministry officials reportedly assessed that if both the new construction and housing minister and the defense minister support the plans, it will take between several months to two years to implement them.