JERUSALEM (JTA) – An Israeli government subcommittee advanced plans for more than 2,300 housing units for West Bank settlements.
The approvals come a week after the Security Cabinet gave rare approval to more than 700 Palestinian homes in Area C, the part of the West Bank under Israeli military and civilian control, but said it also would approve 6,000 homes in Jewish settlements. It is not clear if this week’s approvals are part of that figure.
Observers say the plan for Palestinians could allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to argue that he is making efforts in favour of the White House’s long-awaited peace plan.
On Monday and Tuesday, the Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee, a body of the Defense Ministry, approved 1,466 housing units for deposit, which is part of the early planning stages, and 838 homes received final approval for construction.
Peace Now said that some 88 per cent of the approvals were in settlements that Israel will probably be forced to evacuate under a two-state agreement.
“The approval of settlement plans is part of a disastrous government policy designed to prevent the possibility of peace and a two-state solution, and to annex part or all of the West Bank,” according to Peace Now.
Last week, Netanyahu said during a tour of Efrat, in the Gush Etzion bloc of the West Bank, said that “No settlement or settler will be uprooted. That is over.”
Plans to legalize three outposts also were approved, according to Peace Now.