Thursday, August 8, 2013

Israel in a show of its peaceful intentions, is building 1096 new houses in the settlements

Kochav Yaakov: 38 new houses retroactively approved.

The higher planning committee of Israel's Civil Administration (the misleading name for the military administration of the occupied West Bank) met yesterday (7-8-13) to discuss the promotion of 1096 housing units, divided into 21 plans inside 11 settlements, the NGO Peace Now  reports. The newspaper Haaretz tells us that that planning was temporarily frozen due to the efforts of the US Secretary of State Kerry to get Israel and the Palestinians at the table again. But apparently, now that Kerry succeeded, it is again business as usual.

Peace Now reports that the plans also include 'the legalization of an outpost'(i.e. a settlement that even under Israeli law was illegal).  The outpost in question is Nahlei Tal, established in 2012) ( and first reported by Peace Now ). The plan for Nahlei Tal includes 225 housing units. Currently there are merely a half dozen illegal mobile homes. This is a massive expansion of this illegal outpost, de-facto creating yet another new settlement. (The Israeli government did something similar in April 2012 concerning the illegal outposts Bruchin, Sansana and Rechalim).
Peace Now calls the location of the 1096 plans 'alarming', as only one of the settlements that is on the list to receive additional units is inside the separation barrier (which means that it falls in the terms for 'a land swap' during talks with the Palestinians). Seven others are east of the barrier and three are within the planned route of the barrier.
The settlement of Shiloh gets 95 new residential units on a site in a southern neighborhood that now holds chicken coops. The settlement Talmon gets 304 new houses in northern neighborhood of Zayit Raanan, some of which are retroactively approved. There are about 30 buildings in that neighborhood at present, only 10 of them legally constructed. In Kokhav Yaakov a plan for 38 residential units was retroactively approved, and on Kibbutz Gilgal in the Jordan Valley another 78 units have been added to the 156 already in place. In Almog, which is near the Dead Sea, 31 units were approved, and in Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion a plan for 60 units was advanced.  Several of these plans were intended to be discussed last month, at the previous meeting of the HPC, (17-7-13). However, press coverage of these plans and the HPC's agenda for the meeting, pushed the HPC to remove these plans from the agenda. The plans formerly removed but, promoted yesterday are for 234 units in Gilgal, 38 in Kochav Yaakov, 31 in Almog and 17 in Shilo.
 Of the 1096 housing units, 949 were discussed for depositing and 147 for validation.   

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