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Israel to advance almost 4,000 homes in West Bank settlements

Construction workers build illegal settlements in West Bank [File photo, Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]
Construction workers build illegal settlements in the West Bank, 9 October 2017 [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Israeli authorities are set to approve almost 4,000 homes in West Bank settlements, when a planning committee finally meets early next week.

According to Israeli media reports, 3,829 housing units will be approved for construction in numerous settlements across the occupied West Bank, including in more isolated colonies.

The plans reportedly include 30 settlement units in Hebron, 296 in Beit El settlement, 453 in Givat Ze'ev, 102 in Naguhot, 97 in Rechalim, 54 in Har Bracha, 86 in Kochav Yaakov, 48 in Ma'aleh Michmash, 158 in Kfar Ezion, 129 in Avnei Hefetz, 120 in Noäm, and 206 in Tekoa.

Pro-settler media has claimed that the new wave of construction "marks the first time in some four decades" that brand new housing units for Hebron settlers have been authorised.

The construction is to be approved during the next meeting of the Civil Administration Higher Planning Committee on 16 October, which last met in June.

Read: 'Netanyahu more committed to settlement expansion than to peace'

The committee's regular meeting had been previously postponed so as not to undermine the Trump administration at the UN General Assembly, and was then delayed by Jewish holidays.

An Israeli official cited by The Jerusalem Postsaid: "There is no one more concerned about the settlements than [Israeli prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and this will be proven next week. All attempts to distort reality are a crude lie".

The remarks are a reference to criticism directed at Netanyahu from some settlers and their political allies, who are unhappy at what they see as a slower than necessary pace of settlement expansion.

#Settlement

On Sunday, Yossi Dagan, head of the settlers' 'Samaria Regional Council', told visiting parliamentarians that the settlers are "not satisfied with the direction that people around him are taking with regard to Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]".

"He [Trump] has unfortunately received misinformation. Help us stop the fantasy in which we are not allowed to build schools and kindergartens in Judea and Samaria".

Sunday's report on Channel 2 also said that "the new bypass roads and industrial areas which the settlers had hoped for will not be approved at this time".

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