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Planning c’tee meets to approve more new settlement homes

Construction of new buildings in the settlement of Na'ale. February 8, 2017 (FLASH90)
Construction of new buildings in the settlement of Na'ale. February 8, 2017 (FLASH90)

A committee convenes today to approve 2,800 new Israeli settler homes in the West Bank, a day after the Biden administration issued its strongest condemnation yet of Israeli settlement construction.

The Defense Ministry’s higher planning council, which authorizes West Bank construction, is meeting to authorize the housing units, with more than half of them getting final approval before building starts. The start of the meeting is confirmed by the Israeli defense body COGAT.

Approval of the new construction is bound to raise friction with the United States and Europe, anger the Palestinians and test Israel’s fragile governing coalition, made up of right-wing, centrist and dovish parties that oppose settlements.

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

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

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