Is­rael Ad­vances Plans for 1,292 New Homes for Set­tlers in Judea & Sa­maria

The Jewish Voice - - ISRAEL - Edited by: JV Staff

Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties on Tues­day ad­vanced plans for 1,292 set­tler homes in the West Bank, in a new push by the govern­ment for such ap­provals, ac­cord­ing to an AFP re­port.

The ap­provals came af­ter govern­ment of­fi­cials pledged a ma­jor boost in set­tle­ment home ap­provals this year, with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump so far much less crit­i­cal of such plans than his pre­de­ces­sor Barack Obama.

The left-wing NGO “Peace Now” re­ported the ap­provals by a com­mit­tee over­see­ing set­tle­ment con­struc­tion in the West Bank.

A list pro­vided by the NGO showed homes to be of­fered in a num­ber of lo­ca­tions across the ter­ri­tory, in­clud­ing 146 in Nokdim, a south­ern West Bank set­tle­ment near Beth­le­hem where De­fense Min­is­ter Avig­dor Lieber­man lives.

Hagit Ofran of Peace Now said fur­ther ap­provals were likely on Wed­nes­day, with more than 2,000 units ex­pected to be on the agenda over the course of the two-day meet­ing.

"They are all over the West Bank," spokes­woman Hagit Ofran said. She said fur­ther ap­provals were ex­pected to come on Wed­nes­day.

They are part of nearly 4,000 set­tler home plans to be ad­vanced in the West Bank un­der a push to greatly boost set­tle­ment growth, an Is­raeli of­fi­cial has said.

Separately on Mon­day, an Is­raeli com­mit­tee ap­proved per­mits for 31 set­tler homes in He­bron, the first such green light for the flash­point West Bank city since 2002.

Sev­eral hun­dred Is­raeli set­tlers live in the heart of He­bron un­der heavy mil­i­tary guard among some 200,000 Pales­tini­ans.

The He­bron units are to be built on Shuhada Street, for­merly an im­por­tant mar­ket street lead­ing to a holy site where the bi­b­li­cal Abra­ham is be­lieved to have been buried.

The street is now largely closed off to Pales­tini­ans.

Set­tle­ment build­ing in the West Bank and an­nexed east Jerusalem is not rec­og­nized by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

It is also seen as a ma­jor ob­sta­cle to peace as the set­tle­ments are built on land the Pales­tini­ans see as part of their fu­ture state.

Is­rael took heavy crit­i­cism on set­tle­ment con­struc­tion from Obama's ad­min­is­tra­tion,

but cur­rent Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump's stance has been more am­bigu­ous. Though, he re­quested Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu to "hold off " on set­tle­ment build­ing in a White House meet­ing ear­lier this year.

Trump has been seek­ing to restart peace ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans which have been frozen since a US-led ini­tia­tive col­lapsed in 2014.

Ne­tanyahu re­cently said he plans no up­root­ing of set­tle­ments, blam­ing Pales­tinian "in­cite­ment" and at­tacks against Is­raelis, among other is­sues, for the lack of progress in peace ef­forts.

The Jewish set­tle­ment of Kokhav Yaakov, north of Ra­mal­lah

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