Thursday, August 18, 2011
AGAIN:- Israel Authorizes New Units for West Bank and East Jerusalem Settlements
Ramallah – PNN – Israeli Defence Minister, Ehud Barak, has agreed to the construction of over 700 new housing units in two West Bank settlements, according to the Ha’aretz.
The plans include 277 new units for the settlement of Ariel and 430 for the settlement of Neumann. The units’ completion is expected to be ready for use within four years’ time.
Although the number and location of the new units was agreed last year, the land itself hadn’t been made officially available to developers until Barak’s decision this week.
The news comes just days after the Israeli government’s authorisation of more than 2500 new housing units in East Jerusalem met with widespread condemnation from the international community. Plans are also under discussion for 2700 new units in the settlements of Givat Hmtos and Givat Seez.
According to the Interior Ministry, the decision to authorize more housing in the West Bank is an attempt to alleviate the housing shortage in Israel. In recent weeks the country has witnessed mass protests, partly in response to rising rent rates.
Nabil Abu Rdainah, spokesman for the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the plans.
“This is an Israeli attempt to destroy any chance of peace, and only confirms our determination to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state in September”
The deputy Qais Abd Al-Kareem Abu Laila, a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, also condemned the move, claiming that the Israeli government is ‘in a race against time’ to build the settlements and prevent Palestine’s recognition by the UN.
According to the most recent statistics, around 500,000 Israeli settlers currently live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem alongside a population of 2.5 million Palestinians.