Israel to build 13,000 new Jewish-only housing units on Arab land following expiry of settlement-building freeze
BETHLEHEM — At least 13,000 housing units in illegal West Bank settlements are set for construction once Israel’s building moratorium ends on 30 September, a report issued by an Israeli rights group read Monday.
According to Peace Now, at least 2,066 housing units are ready for construction, having received building permits, while a further 11,000 are in the works that do not require further government approval.
“There are apparently hundreds more housing units ready for construction as soon as the freeze ends but the ground works have not yet begun and there is not available information about them,” the report read.
Peace Now said building permit records were made available to them but warned that “hundreds more building permits were approved recently by local authorities that do not publish their building permits.
“In several cases the information was published in notices of the intention to build new projects issued to contractors or other professionals in the construction industry.”
Additionally, the rights group said, there are approximately 37,684 housing units in plans that were approved in the past but were never built. “Most of those units require further approval of the government for the allocation and marketing of the lands.”
Netanyahu to offer ‘settlement freeze’ similar to Olmert
The report was issued a day before Palestinian and Israeli leaders are set to begin the second round of direct negotiations in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. The PLO and Palestinian Authority have maintained that they would walk out of talks if Israel refused to extend its ten-month moratorium on West Bank construction and expand its mandate to East Jerusalem.
However, residents of the illegal West Bank settlements have vowed to continue building at an unprecedented pace following the freeze’s expiration, as well as in retaliation for the killing of four settlers in a shooting attack last week.
Meanwhile, Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to adopt a policy identical to that of his predecessor for construction in West Bank settlements — a partial freeze — as the September 30 end of the moratorium approaches.
But under Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, currently embroiled in a bribery scandal over the construction of several apartment complexes in West Jerusalem, more than 90 percent of construction was carried out in the major settlement blocs including East Jerusalem’s Ma’aleh Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel.
Despite pressure from ministers within his coalition government, Netanyahu has yet to officially declare the Israel government’s next move following the end of the moratorium.
Earlier this year, indirect talks mediated by the US were broken off on the eve of the PLO’s endorsement, after Israel announced further settlement expansion to an Israeli-only settlement in East Jerusalem during US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the region to restart peace talks.
The above article can be found here: http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=314575
Peace Now: 2,066 Jewish homes ready to be built in Judea/Samaria
Arutz Sheva (Israel)
September 13, 2010
In an attempt to scare the world into increasing the already heavy pressure on Israel to extend the construction freeze, the ultra-left Peace Now organization announces that 2,066 homes are ready to be built on Sept. 26 if the freeze is not extended — and thousands more are only one step away.
The 2,066 units, in 42 different Jewish communities throughout Judea and Samaria, need no further permits or approvals for construction to begin. Among them are 300 in Givat Ze’ev, just north of Jerusalem, and another 260 in the hareidi-religious city Modiin Illit (Kiryat Sefer).
In addition, work on 24 units can be immediately begun in Kiryat Arba, 18 in Tapuach, and 70 in Talmon.
The goal and raison d’etre of Peace Now is to ensure that no Jews live in Judea and Samaria (Yesha). It files court suits, publicizes information on Jewish settlements, and runs campaigns to this end.
The city of Arielhas has 136 units ready for immediate construction, according to Peace Now, while Vered Yericho has 41; Shilo, 22; Kochav HaShachar, 24; Barkan, 62; Mevo Horon, 70; Elazar, 58; Nili, 46; and Tzofim, 50 units.
Furthermore, Peace Now reports, “there are at least another 11,000 housing units approved for construction according to valid building plans, and the settlers can build them even without further government approval. This means that [even] if the government… [states it will not] approve new construction but does not renew the freeze order, the settlers can still build 13,000 housing units, 5,000 of which are in isolated settlements east of the separation barrier.”
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) says this is far from enough, and that if only 13,000 units are built in Yesha — population 320,000 — it will be a catastrophe. “13,000 housing units would be the Netanyahu edition of the British White Paper [which sorely restricted Jewish immigration to the Holy Land in the 1930’s and 40’s – ed.], and would be a continuation of the policy of strangulation. The Jewish settlement enterprise requires at least 50,000 units this year.”
The above article can be found here: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/139593