Government Approves Thousands of Housing Units in West Bank Settlements Amidst Ongoing Conflict

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by Ifi Reporter Category:Government Mar 6, 2024

In the midst of a tumultuous period marked by conflict and tension, the Supreme Planning Council in the Civil Administration has given the green light for the promotion of approximately 3,000 housing units in Israeli settlements. The decision, approved amidst ongoing hostilities, underscores a significant move in the contentious Israeli-Palestinian landscape.

According to details revealed, the approved housing units are slated for construction in Ma'ale Adumim, Efrat, and Kidar. In Ma'ale Adumim, 2,052 housing units have been approved for deposit, while Efrat will see 694 units, and Kidar 330 units. This decision follows recent reports in Ynet and Yediot Ahronoth exposing efforts by settlement officials to expedite approvals through the Supreme Planning Council, amidst a seven-month construction lull and escalating tensions.

Finance Minister and Defense Minister Bezalel Smotrich lauded the move, citing a record-breaking number of housing units approved in Judea and Samaria last year, totaling 18,515 units. Smotrich emphasized the importance of continuing construction in the region as a staunch Zionist response.

Shlomo Na'eman, Head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council and Chairman of the Yesha Council, echoed these sentiments, praising government officials for prioritizing settlement expansion and sovereignty reinforcement. Na'eman urged further approvals for pending housing units.

The decision to convene the council came in the wake of a deadly attack in Ma'ale Adumim, where three terrorists opened fire on commuters, resulting in the tragic death of Matan Elmaleh and injuries to six others, including a pregnant woman. Smotrich condemned the attack, emphasizing Israel's resolute stance against terrorism.

Notably, the government's move has stirred opposition from the United States, potentially exacerbating tensions between the two allies. Despite objections from the US administration, which has expressed growing criticism of Israel amidst the Gaza conflict, the Israeli government remains steadfast in its settlement policies.

This decision unfolds amidst reports suggesting US considerations to advance Palestinian statehood, a move staunchly opposed by Prime Minister Netanyahu's government. The prospect of unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state has triggered a declaratory stance in the Knesset, reiterating Israel's commitment to negotiations as the sole path to Palestinian statehood.

As tensions persist and geopolitical dynamics evolve, the approval of housing units in West Bank settlements stands as a contentious flashpoint in the complex Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with implications reaching far beyond the region's borders.

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