Peace Now - Settlement Watch News Flash: Advancement of 1065 Housing Units in the Settlements

The sub-committee for settlements of the higher planning committee of the military’s Civil Administration met yesterday to discuss 15 plans, at various planning stages and in different settlements. In total, the committee discussed plans that regard 1,065 housing units. Of these housing units, the plan approved 541 new housing units, retroactively legalized 228 existing housing units, and approved the development of infrastructure for a plan that consists of 296 housing units, while further approval will be needed before construction of the housing units can begin.
 
According to the committee, the plans that were approved were either for the retroactive legalization of housing units that have been constructed in the past, for corrected plans that were approved in the past but needed technical adjustments, or for plans that do not include residential housing units.
 
However, for four of the plans, that regard approximately 541 housing units, yesterday's approvals by the committee were necessary in order for construction to begin. Indeed, just as the committee claims, these plans received approvals in the past, but the plans could not commence without the further approvals that were granted yesterday by the committee. In other words, without yesterday’s approvals these 541 housing units could not built.
 
Of these three plans that were approved, one was for 24 housing units, in two buildings, at Bet El settlement, commonly known as the Dreinoff buildings. These buildings are built on private Palestinian lands and are supposed to be demolished by the end of this month after a ruling by the Supreme Court, in a case issued by Yesh Din. In recent weeks settler groups have put heavy pressure on the government, including numerous demonstrations throughout the West Bank, not to demolish the buildings. Following yesterday's approval of the plan, the State is expected to request the Supreme Court to reverse its ruling.
 
Two other plans that were approved were for 381 housing units at Givat Ze’ev and 112 housing units at Ma’ale Adumim. These plans received approvals in the past, in June 2014 and May 2013 respectively, however, construction did not go forward because the plans required some adjustments in order for construction to begin. A fourth plan that was approved regarded 27 housing units at Bet Arie. To the best of our knowledge, 3 houses of the plan have already been built and the remaining 24 houses required further approvals of their plans in order to commence. Approvals for these plans were given yesterday.
 
The committee also approved plans that retroactively legalize construction that has already been completed. These plans include 179 housing units at Beit Arie, 24 housing units at Psagot, and 22 housing units at Givon HaHadasha.
 
In addition the committee also discussed an additional plan at Beit El that consists of 296 housing units. This plan is part of a compensation package that was given to the settlers after the demolition of several buildings at the Ulpana outpost in 2014. While the plan is not officially valid (publication of the validation is still needed), nor is it ready for construction (archaeological digging is taking place) the committee approved to proceed with construction for parts of the plan that regard development and infrastructure at the site. Construction of the 296 housing will need further validation. The reason behind this procedure is pressure by the Ministry of Defence to commence with the plan.
 
The committee also approved the construction of a religious school (Yeshiva) near Neve Daniel, a settlement near Bethlehem, and 2 industrial structures at Karnei Shomron, a settlement West of Qalqilya and East of Nablus. In addition, the committee also approved a winery at Kiryat Arba settlement.
 
Finally, recent media publications reported that last week the Finance Minister, Moshe Kahlon, approved the construction of two new roads that will bypass Hawara, a Palestinian town south of Nablus, and El-Aroub, a Palestinian refugee camp south of Bethlehem. The construction of both these roads will allow easier and much quicker travel to the settlements. Other bypass roads that were established in the past, like the bypass roads of Bethlehem (from the West of Bethlehem that leads to Gush Etzion settlements and from the East of Bethlehem that leads to Tkoa and Nokdim settlements, also known as the Lieberman road) have contributed significantly to the growth and development of the settlements. As such, settler groups have lobbied furiously for the approval of these two additional roads. Last year it was revealed that the settlers had introduced a document demanding the construction of these roads, among other demands. At the time, then the Minister of Finance, Yair Lapid, disapproved the demands claiming that they are too expensive. Now, with the new government at place, the approval for the roads has been granted.

Here is a detailed list of the plans:

Settlement Plan No. Planning Stage Housing Units Comment
Givon HaHadasha 216/7 Discussion for Deposit 22 Retroactive legalization of 22 existing housing units that have been built in the past.
Givat Ze’ev 220/23 Discussion for Validation 381 Housing Units have not been built yet. Plan was already approved in the past. There was some technical problem in the plan that was fixed.
Givat Ze’ev 220/13/1/1 Discussion for Deposit 4 Plan for adding 4 new housing units was not approved.
Neve Daniel 402/6 Discussion for Validation Approved. Yeshiva, religious school, called “Mekor Haim”
Beit Arie 202/1/1 Discussion for Validation 179 Retroactive legalization of 179 existing housing units that have been built in the past.
Beit Arie 201/3/10 Discussion for Validation 27 3 housing units have already been built, the remaining 24 have not.
Psagot 222/2 Discussion for Deposit 24 Retroactive Legalization of 24 existing housing units that have been built in the past
Maale Adumim 420/1/7/26/1 Discussion for Deposit 0
Maale Adumim 420/1/7/55 Discussion for Deposit 0
Maale Adumim 420/1/16/4/1 Discussion for Validation 112 Housing units have not been built yet. Technical changes in a plan that is already approved.
Maale Adumim 420/2/8 Discussion for Deposit 0
Beit El 219/12/1 Discussion for Validation 24 Dreinoff buildings that are supposed to be demolished by the end of the month.
Karnei Shomron 117/17 Discussion for Deposit 0 2 lots for industrial uses. Approved.
Beit El 218/18 Discussion for Validation 296 The plan was approved for development and infrastructure, and not for housing units. This plan is part of the State compensation to the settlers after the Ulpana Case.
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