Israel allocates record $227 million US to building safer West Bank roads

(JTA) – Israel’s government allotted $227 million US for improving the security of roads in the West Bank, including by building new ones that circumvent Palestinians cities.

The allocation, which is the largest of its kind, was announced Friday following weeks of protests by bereaved families of Israelis who died in terrorist attacks on West Bank roads. Construction by Israel in the West Bank, including of roads for settlements, is considered internationally as illegal. [Read more…]

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Israel advances plans for more West Bank housing

JERUSALEM (JTA) – An Israeli Defense Ministry committee advanced plans for more than 1,300 housing units in West Bank settlements, which the European Union called “detrimental” to efforts toward peace talks.

The 1,323 homes and apartments approved Wednesday by the Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee, which oversees construction activity in the West Bank, are in various stages of development. On Tuesday, the panel gave the OK for 1,292 housing units there. [Read more…]

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Netanyahu decries Palestinian unity bid, promises thousands of settlement homes

A view of a portion of the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
A view of a portion of the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

A view of a portion of the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim. (Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a West Bank settlement that the Palestinians are reconciling “at the expense of our existence.”

He was referring to a meeting Tuesday in the Gaza Strip of the Palestinian Authority cabinet for the first time in three years, part of a reconciliation agreement between the Fatah party of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, which controls Gaza. PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah led the cabinet meeting. [Read more…]

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Netanyahu vows settlements are here to stay at West Bank ceremony

(JTA) – At a controversial event in the West Bank marking 50 years of settlements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel will not uproot any Jews or Arabs from their land.

Thousands attended the event Wednesday night in a field outside Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion, but many officials boycotted the ceremony, including left-wing politicians and ambassadors to Israel from several countries. The U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, did not attend. [Read more…]

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Netanyahu postpones settlement committee meeting at U.S. request

JERUSALEM (JTA) – In advance of a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump’s special envoy Jason Greenblatt, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to a U.S. request to postpone a meeting of a settlement planning committee.

Greenblatt is scheduled to arrive Tuesday in Israel to continue discussions toward restarting peace talks with the Palestinians, the Israeli media reported, citing unnamed White House officials. [Read more…]

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Israel will not evacuate more settlements, Netanyahu pledges

An aerial view of Israel’s largest settlement, Maale Adumim, March 12, 2008. (David Silverman/Getty Images)

An aerial view of Israel’s largest settlement, Maale Adumim, March 12, 2008. (David Silverman/Getty Images)

(JTA) – Israel will not evacuate any more settlements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged.

“We are here to stay forever,” the prime minister said at an event in the northern West Bank settlement of Barkan commemorating the 50th anniversary of Israel’s settlement of the West Bank. “There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel.” [Read more…]

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Israeli government defends law legalizing some settlements

JERUSALEM (JTA) – The Israeli government said a law that legalizes certain settlements built on Palestinian property is “a humane, proportional and reasonable response to the genuine distress of Israeli residents.”

On Monday, the state submitted a brief to the Supreme Court supporting what is known as the Regulation Law. A private attorney submitted the brief after the country’s attorney general told the court he was against the legislation and would not defend it. [Read more…]

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U.S. opposes UN ‘blacklist’ of companies that do business in Israeli settlements

(JTA) – The United States has called on the United Nations not to publish a database of companies that do business in Israeli settlements.

The database, which the administration calls a “blacklist,” was approved by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2016 and includes American companies such as Caterpillar, TripAdvisor, Priceline.com and Airbnb. The list is supposed to be updated annually. [Read more…]

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Israel breaks ground on first new settlement in decades

Construction beginning in the West Bank on the new Israeli settlement Amichai meant for the evacuees of the Amona outpost, June 20, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Construction beginning in the West Bank on the new Israeli settlement Amichai meant for the evacuees of the Amona outpost, June 20, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

(JTA) – Israel broke ground on a new West Bank settlement – its first in more than two decades – to house the evacuated residents of an illegal outpost.

Preliminary work began this week on Amichai, meaning “my nation lives,” for the residents of Amona, who were forced to leave in February. Some 100 housing units are planned. [Read more…]

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