Israel approves 800 new settler homes

2013-08-08 15:07

Jerusalem - Israel has given preliminary approval for the construction of more than 800 new homes in Jewish settlements on occupied West Bank land where Palestinians seek statehood, an Israeli official said on Thursday.

The move could complicate US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, which resumed last month after an almost three-year freeze over the settlement dispute and whose second round is expected to take place next week.

Guy Inbar, spokesperson for Israel's military-run Civil Administration in the West Bank, said initial plans to build 800 new settler homes were approved on Wednesday, though actual construction would require a green light from the government.

"This is a lengthy process," said Inbar, who did not immediately provide further details on the plans.

Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement watchdog, put the number of new homes discussed by the Civil Administration on Wednesday at 1 096 and said they were earmarked for 11 settlements - some of them located deep within the West Bank.

Israel insists it would annex major West Bank settlement blocs, which are mainly situated close to the Israeli border, under any peace accord with the Palestinians. Most world powers regard all the settlements as illegal and Palestinians say the enclaves could deny them a viable and contiguous state.

Palestinian officials did not immediately comment on the new settlement initiative, which surfaced as Muslims celebrated the festival of Eid al-Fitr.

Some 500 000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas captured in the 1967 Middle East war, amid 2.5 million Palestinians. Israel withdrew in 2005 from the Gaza Strip, which is now governed by Hamas Islamists opposed to permanent co-existence with the Jewish state.

On Sunday, the rightist Israeli government put 91 settlements on a national priority funding list, adding six to a roster of dozens of enclaves already eligible for supplemental state cash.

Last month, while US Secretary of State John Kerry was on a peace-brokering visit to the region, the Civil Administration granted initial approval for construction of 732 new homes in Modiin Ilit, a settlement midway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

  • Mally Gee - 2013-08-08 16:01

    The West Bank is certainly not, by any stretch of the imagination, under illegal occupation by Israel. During the Six-Day War in June 1967 Israel was victorious over Arab forces which saw Israel take control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. There is no such thing as Israel building illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, for Israel is building upon and controlling 100% Israeli land “taken” quite legally in the 6-day war.

      mahomed - 2013-08-08 16:27

      What about the thousands (approx 27,000) of Palestinian homes that Israel has demolished since 1967 and thereafter proceeded to build illegal settlement on these properties. Read more at: The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)

      Hosni Mubar - 2013-08-08 17:16

      Mahomed, have you given back the land that your house is built on in South Africa to the Khoi San? Your ancestors acquired the land from those who took it away from its original inhabitants. I'm not condoning the demolition of Palestinian homes, or the building of new Israeli homes in the area, as I feel both are not conducive to finding peace. I am drawing your attention to your obvious hypocrisy.

      Mally Gee - 2013-08-08 17:17

      Mahomed, read up a bit on war so you may come to know the effects and results of war as well as the right to annex territory. Whether you and the Arabs don’t like the result of this war are immaterial. The fact is that the 1967 war began after years of Arab initiated sabotage acts aimed at Israeli targets. Israel launched vicious attacks of retaliation against Egyptian air-fields and the Jordanian-controlled West Bank. In addition Israel initiated aerial clashes against Syrian positions in the Golan Heights. In 6 days, Israel had won a decisive land war. Israeli forces had taken control of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, and the Golan Heights from Syria. The next big Arab-Israeli war which will occur soon; will be even more decisive with massive loss of life on the Arab side.

      Tshembani T Mhlengwe Mabasa - 2013-08-08 17:50

      hey,mally haven't you heard of somethin called hezbollah? they will resist being bullied by all means possible

      Mally Gee - 2013-08-08 23:14

      Hezbollah is nothing but chaff in the wind compared to the might which backs Israel.

      Jason Jaded - 2013-08-09 20:18

      @ Mally Gee So by your very own logic and account of history... Based on years of numerous direct threats, incursions and initiated acts of sabotage by Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli military - should say Iran, launch a "pre-emptive" attack on Israel and win, because they believe that Israel is planing to attack THEM (which there is every indication it plans to do). This would in turn be justification for Iran to take control of Israeli territory, annex said territory indefinitely (and legally?) as a claim of self defence, and then proceed to settle its own people and citizens from around the globe on this (legally?) military occupied land while striping the Jewish people of their own basic rights to self determination, citizenship and democratic rights within their homeland? All the while, oppressing, treating and labelling any Jews, Druze or Christians that dare to protest, resist or demonstrate their dislike of their oppression as terrorists? ... because in all of your boasting and gloating, that's exactly what you're now saying is fair and acceptable behaviour. It appears, by your very own admission that, the "next big Arab-Israeli war" that you predict will be so decisive in Israel's favour will be carried out in the EXACT same manner, fashion and premiss as the original war in 1967. Basically, a "self-defensive", yet at the same time "pre-emptive" sucker punch, claimed in all its "justified innocence" as an opportunity to acquire more land for Jewish settlers.

      Mally Gee - 2013-08-10 23:04

      If all the Arabs in the middle East would choose to end their attack on Israel and concentrate on simply defending themselves, then peace would be created naturally; because they will never be attacked by Israel without provocation. History qualifies the undeniable fact that Arabs are the aggressors and the Israeli’s are defenders and retaliators.

  • Mally Gee - 2013-08-08 17:22

    Israel gave Palestinians the Gaza Strip as a gift from Israel in exchange for peace. Israel went to great expense and untold sacrifices by their own people, with demolitions of Israeli homes, in order to hand this land over. In return these Palestinians choose to aim rockets at ordinary people with the wilful intention to slaughter these defenceless men women and children. In my opinion, Israel had no right to hand this land over to the Palestinians and because the Arabs have reneged on their side of the agreement, Israel should take the Gaza Strip back immediately.

  • Lehlohonolo Moloi - 2013-08-08 17:56

    When they are not using chemical weapons against arab women and children, they are stealing land. These land grabbers must be stopped.

      Hosni Mubar - 2013-08-09 17:00

      First inform yourself properly about what is actually happening. Both groups of people have been in the area since time immemorial.

  • Scholes Sebastion Sharon - 2013-08-08 20:35

    good development people neeed homes

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