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Israel invites bids for building 1,355 new settlement units

A general view shows an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank city Nablus, on 18 October 2020 [Shadi Jarar'ah/ApaImages]
A general view shows an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank city Nablus on 18 October 2020 [Shadi Jarar'ah/ApaImages]

The Israeli occupation government invited bids for the construction of 1,355 new settlement units in the illegal Jewish-only settlements in the occupied West Bank, local media reported yesterday.

This comes after 1,300 settlement units were approved for construction by the different government bodies in the occupation state, the first such announcement since US President Joe Biden took office.

"Just as we promised, we are now following through," said Construction and Housing Minister Ze'ev Elkin yesterday. "Strengthening and widening the settlements in Judea and Samaria is a necessary and very important part of the Zionist enterprise," he added using the Israeli name for the occupied West Bank. Elkin said he welcomed moving forward with the construction "after a long period of stagnation in building."

The plan stated that 729 units will be constructed in the settlement of Ariel, 324 in the settlement of Beit El, 102 in the settlement of Elkana, and the rest will be built in the settlements of Geva Binyamin, Immanuel, Karnei Shomron and Betar Illit. All settlements are illegal under international law.

According to the Israeli media, the plan's budget will be 224 million shekels (almost $70 million).

Elkin's ministry also said that it plans to double the settler population, which is currently about 6,400 settlers, in the Jordan Valley by 2026, and that they will advertise 1,500 housing units in the area, Haaretz reported.

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Meanwhile, a committee of Israel's Civil Administration in the West Bank will meet on Wednesday to possibly approve plans for around 3,100 settlement units also in settlements in the occupied West Bank.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said his country is "concerned" about the move, adding it is "critical for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tension and undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution."

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