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Israel official: New settlement units to be approved after Jewish holiday

Construction workers build illegal settlements in West Bank on 25th August 2017 [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Eli Ben-Dahan, deputy minister of defence, stated that the construction of thousands of settlement units will be approved immediately after the end of the Jewish holiday, Sukkot. This will include 300 units in the Beit El settlement, in the northern occupied Ramallah.

According to Israel’s Channel 7, Ben-Dahan said that the Supreme Planning Council will agree on the settlement plans submitted by the settlement municipalities during its meeting. He called for the preparation of more settlement programmes.

“There is no need to fear the political circumstances,” he said, adding, “the meeting will be held and thousands of housing units will be approved. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman are also committed to this.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s current government, Ben-Dahan added, “has agreed to build many more settlement units than previous governments, and we expect a lot from it. The current Israeli government is the best government for settlers.”

Read: ‘Netanyahu more committed to settlement expansion than to peace’

“I am not concerned about the repeated delays in the Israeli Supreme Planning Council’s meetings. It is expected to approve the construction of thousands of settlement units in Judea and Samaria [the Israeli name for the occupied West Bank],” he added.

The deputy minister denied that the council’s meetings were being postponed due to pressure from the US, noting: “The meeting s were postponed several times, and the last time the settlement plans were not approved merely for technical reasons.”

He revealed that since the beginning of 2017, the Israeli government has permitted the construction of more settlement units “more than was approved within the past ten years”.

He also said that there are plans to pave more by-pass roads to serve settlers and urged the government to allocate additional budgets for settlers.

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