4,400 housing units to be approved in Palestinian settlements and villages

The Supreme Civil Administration Planning Council will next week approve the promotion of planning and construction of approximately 3,100 new housing units in West Bank settlements and approximately 1,300 housing units in Palestinian villages in Area C This will be the first time that settlement construction has been approved since the Biden administration took office and the first time since 2007 that Israel has approved large-scale construction for the Palestinians.
The planning council was due to meet in August before Prime Minister Bennett’s trip to Washington for his first meeting with President Biden. But a few days before the council was convened, Civil Administration employees declared a strike, postponing the move. Following the meeting with Biden, the council meeting was postponed due to political sensitivity towards the United States.

The number of housing units to be submitted for approval next week will be larger than the initial plan. The number of housing units in the settlements has increased by around 900 housing units and the number of housing units for Palestinians has increased by around 350 housing units. Much of the housing that is planned and built will be in isolated settlements deep in the West Bank outside the large settlement blocs.

The plan to build 50 housing units in the Palestinian village of Khirbet Zakaria in Gush Etzion was withdrawn from the agenda after strong opposition from settler leaders. Khirbet Zakaria is a small Palestinian village located in an enclave between the towns of Alon Shvut and Rosh Tzurim in Gush Etzion, which has managed to forge good neighborly relations with its neighbors. However, the intention of the Civil Administration to approve construction plans for the Palestinian village last month sparked controversy among residents of Gush Etzion, some of whom supported the movement and others opposed it.

The leader of the opposition to the construction plans in the Palestinian village is the head of the Gush Etzion Council, Shlomo Ne’eman, who said that “this is a serious precedent for Arab construction in the heart of the Jewish settlement. And what matters. the worst part is that the Palestinian Authority is behind these plans. “

ISRAELIS WALK with flags in Bat Ayin settlement in Gush Etzion in the West Bank last month. (credit: GERSHON ELINSON / FLASH90)

According to Ne’eman, the Gush Etzion Council is the one that should place Khirbet Zakaria, and similar places, within its jurisdiction, and promote planning solutions for its residents. “Gush Etzion Council is to dispose of the garbage and ensure the proper flow of sewage in the village, ensure business licenses, traffic arrangements and parking at the site. Likewise, it must issue building permits, maintain supervision and enforcement in the field of planning and construction according to all rules. We will not accept to be spectators when people enter our living room. We are not guests in our own home.

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