Israeli authorities yesterday advanced plans for 1,292 settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, with hundreds more approvals expected today.
The committee responsible for overseeing settlement construction, part of the Defence Ministry, began a two-day meeting yesterday, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seeks to pacify settler leaders and coalition members over construction in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
The committee also approved 296 homes to be marketed for sale in Beit El settlement. In a separate but related development on Monday, permits were granted for 31 new settler homes in Hebron. Beit El Mayor Shai Alon said he hoped the new units will be "just the tip of the iceberg".
According to the Times of Israel, of the 1,292 units advanced yesterday, some 562 are located in more isolated settlements lying "deep in the West Bank", including in Nokdim – home to Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman – and Rehelim.
Settlement homes were also advanced in the Jordan Valley, as well as in settlements south of Bethlehem (Kfar Etzion and Elazar), and in Barkan, Nofim, Beit Aryeh and Har Adar.
The settlement houses advanced also included 17 temporary homes for the residents of an illegal Netiv Ha'avot outpost, slated to be razed in March.
So-called outposts were often built without official permits from the Israeli authorities, albeit often with the collusion of various state agencies.
All Israeli settlements in the oPt are viewed as illegal under international law, as reiterated by the UN Security Council last December.