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Home > Uncategorised > Israel set to approve 3,000 new settler homes in West Bank

Israel set to approve 3,000 new settler homes in West Bank

12 European States Urge Israel to Stop Settlement Expansion

Monday 1 November 2021, by siawi3


Israel set to approve 3,000 new settler homes in West Bank

The move appears to run contrary to the coalition government’s vow to reduce tensions with Palestine

Photo: Palestinian labourers building new houses in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Bruchin near the Palestinian town of Nablus. Photograph: Ariel Schalit/AP

Associated Press

Wed 27 Oct 2021 15.09 BST

A settlement monitor has said that an Israeli committee has approved about 3,000 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank, a day after the Biden administration issued its strongest condemnation yet of the proposed construction.

Word of the approval came from Hagit Ofran from the anti-settlement group Peace Now. There was no immediate confirmation from the defence ministry.

Israeli public broadcaster Kan also reported that about 3,000 units were approved.

The ministry’s higher planning council, which authorises West Bank construction, convened on Wednesday to authorise the housing units, with more than half of them getting final approval before building starts. The start of the meeting was confirmed by the Israeli defence body Cogat.

Photo: Palestinian women from the Union of Palestinian Women Committees plant a sapling

Read more: Israel labels Palestinian human rights groups as terrorist organisations

If confirmed, the approval of the new construction is bound to raise friction with the US and Europe, anger the Palestinians and test Israel’s fragile governing coalition, made up of ultra-nationalists, centrists and dovish parties that oppose settlements.

On Tuesday, the US Department of State said that it was “deeply concerned” about Israel’s plans to advance new settlement homes, including many deep inside the West Bank.

“We strongly oppose the expansion of settlements, which is completely inconsistent with efforts to lower tensions and to ensure calm, and damages the prospects for a two-state solution,” Department of State spokesperson Ned Price told reporters in Washington.

The Palestinians seek the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem – areas Israel captured in the 1967 six-day war – for their future state. The Palestinians view the settlements, which house around 700,000 Israelis, as the main obstacle to peace, and most of the international community considers them illegal.

Read more: Israel preparing to resume settlement building in West Bank
Israel views the West Bank, home to more than 2.5 million Palestinians, as the biblical and historical heartland of the Jewish people.
Benny Gantz

The committee was also supposed to approve 1,600 housing units for Palestinians who live in areas of the West Bank that are under full Israeli control, outside the enclaves administered by a Palestinian autonomy government. Palestinians and rights groups say those homes are a small fraction of demand.

On Sunday, Israel announced construction tenders for 1,355 housing units in the West Bank, the first move of its kind since President Joe Biden assumed office pledging to take a harder line on the settlements. It also appeared to run contrary to the new Israeli coalition government’s own vows to reduce tensions with the Palestinians.

The move drew condemnation from the Palestinians, dovish members of Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett’s diverse governing coalition, the EU and the US.



12 European States Urge Israel to Stop Settlement Expansion

The statement comes after a harsh U.S. rebuke on Israel’s plan to construct housing units in West Bank settlements

Photo: A view shows the Israeli settlement of Har Homa in the West Bank, on Wednesday. Credit: AMMAR AWAD/ REUTERS


Oct. 28, 2021

Germany, along with other 11 European countries, urged Israel on Thursday to reverse its decision to advance plans to construct around 3,000 settlement units in the West Bank.

In a joint statement by the foreign ministries of Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden, the countries said they opposed settlement expansion across the occupied Palestinian Territories.

“We call on both parties to build on steps taken in recent months to improve cooperation and reduce tensions,” the countries said.

The United Kingdom issued a statement by Minister for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly that called on Israel to reverse the approval and said settlements “are illegal under international law and present an obstacle to peace and stability.”

“We urge the Government of Israel to reverse its decision to advance plans for the construction of around 3,000 settlement units in the West Bank.“ Read the full joint statement by Spokespersons of the Foreign Ministries of 🇧🇪🇩🇰🇫🇮🇫🇷🇩🇪🇮🇪🇮🇹🇳🇱🇳🇴🇵🇱🇸🇪&🇪🇸 on Israeli Settlements here:
— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) October 28, 2021

Also Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry wrote on Twitter that it was “disappointed” with Israel’s decision and that it “reaffirm[ed] Russia’s principled position that Israel’s settlement activity is illegal.”

Israel moved forward on Wednesday with plans to build some 3,000 homes for Jewish settlers in the West Bank, defying the strongest criticism to date of such projects from the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden.

On Tuesday, the Biden administration strongly condemned Israel’s plans to advance housing units in Israeli settlements in its firmest public rebuke of Israeli policy to date.

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Senior U.S. officials told Naftali Bennett’s office in discreet talks that their concerns mainly relate to the expected construction in the depths of Palestinian territory. The messages were conveyed, among other avenues, from the office of U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

“We are deeply concerned about the Israeli government’s plan to advance thousands of settlement units, many of them deep in the West Bank. In addition, we’re concerned about the publication of tenders on Sunday for 1,300 settlement units in a number of West Bank settlements,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.