Israel to advance plans for ‘4,000 settler homes’
The Gaza Post|The News of Palestine-Palestine
Israel is set to advance plans for nearly 4000 settlers homes in the occupied West Bank as part of a push to boost settlement growth, an official said on Tuesday.
The plans also include homes in the flashpoint city of Hebron, where 800 hard-line nationalist settlers live under army protection in heavily fortified compounds among 200,000 Palestinians.
On condition of anonymity, an Israeli official said: “3,736 housing units will be approved at different stages of planning and construction.”
The homes will be located throughout the occupied West Bank, including the Migron and Beit El settlements near Ramallah and in Hebron, but the official did not provide a timeline for construction.
“In total, about 12,000 housing units will be approved in 2017, at various stages of planning and construction, four times the number in 2016.”
Over 6000000 now live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, making a contiguous Palestinian state virtually impossible.
Key members of Netanyahu’s government advocate annexing most of the West Bank, while US adviser Jared Kushner and ambassador to Israel David Friedman have longstanding ties to the settlement movement.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition government leans heavily on settlers and their supporters to maintain its thin parliamentary majority.
Netanyahu is also facing a graft probe that could potentially force him from office and has sought to rally his right-wing base behind him.
In recent weeks he has stepped up his hard-line rhetoric, attacking the media and giving speeches in West Bank settlement where he has vowed never to remove them.
“We are afraid that, as Netanyahu gets more and more under pressure from the investigations and from his coalition, he is going to approve more and more plans,” Hagit Ofran from Israeli NGO Peace Now said.
Settlement building in the occupied West Bank and annexed East Jerusalem is considered illegal under international law.
Source:The New Arab