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Coalition to fall apart if settlements home plans not advanced, officials tell US

If the government fails to advance plans to build nearly 4,000 settlement homes in the West Bank, the coalition will fall apart, Israeli officials relay to the Biden administration, Channel 12 reports.

The officials convey that the coalition — which is already teetering following the exit of former whip Idit Silman — needed to meet its commitments to right-wing parties and voters in the wide coalition headed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, and that should it fail to do so, the government would fall, the report says.

The Biden administration warned Friday that the plan to build settlement homes “deeply damages the prospects for a two-state solution.”

On Friday, the Defense Ministry body that authorizes settlement construction released the agenda for its next meeting next Thursday, revealing that it is slated to green-light 2,536 homes through the final planning stage, while advancing another 1,452 homes through an earlier stage in the permitting process known as deposit.

According to Channel 12, the initial plan was for a total of 5,800 homes, reduced to 4,000 following discussions with American officials. Israel has also promised 1,000 housing units for Palestinians, according to the report.

An Israeli official said Friday that Bennett’s office notified the Biden administration ahead of time of its plans to reconvene the Defense Ministry body that authorizes settlement construction.

Channel 12 reports that Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz tried to time the announcement well before Biden’s planned visit to Israel in over a month but after the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

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