Friday, January 10, 2014
Israel announces plans for almost 1.900 new housing units in occupied territory
Part of the settlement of Efrat, in the background the Palestinian village of Khirbet Abdullah Ibrahim (Reuters)
Israel announced plans on Friday to build almost 1,900 new settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, settlement watchdog Peace Now said. The housing ministry announced the plans for 1,076 units in annexed East Jerusalem and 801 in the occupied West Bank, Peace Now spokesman Lior Amihai told AFP. Together the plans amount to 1877 new units.
Last Monday Israel already announced plans for the construction of 272 new housing units in occupied territory. All in all this come down to 2149 units.
The paper Haaretz precises that tenders were released for the construction of 600 housing units in the settlement of Ramat Shlomo, a satellite of East-Jerusalem. In addition, also tenders were published for the construction of 532 units in other parts of East Jerusalem: 182 units in Pisgat Ze'ev, 294 in Ramot and 56 in Neve Yaakov. These last plots were marketed in the past but found no buyers at the time. They were now put back out on the market.
As for the West Bank the plans consisted of 227 housing units in Efrat, 78 in Alfei Menashe, 86 in Karnei Shomron, 40 in Ariel, 75 in Adam, 24 in Beitar Illit, 102 in Immanuel and 169 in Elkana.
Coinciding with the release of 26 Palestininan prisoners from before 1993 in the framework of the peace negotiations which are led by the American Secretary of State John Kerry, it was leaked that Israel was to announce plans for 1400 new houses in occupied territory, as it has become almost a tradition by now to ''balance the painful release of Palestinian killers'' (prisoners who have spent more than 20 years in prison) with announcements of new building plans in the settlements. The announcement, however, was postponed till Kerry left in order to spare him needless embarrassment. In the meantime, however, the numbers seems to have increased a bit.