Israel Approves 153 New, Illegal Homes

Israel Approves 153 New, Illegal Homes
Israel Approves 153 New, Illegal Homes

Israel’s Defense Ministry has approved plans to build 153 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank, a spokeswoman for the Israeli settlements watchdog Peace Now said on Monday.

Hagit Ofran said the plans were adopted last week and involve small settlements in the Ariel area in the northern West Bank, the Carmel settlement in the Al-Khalil area and the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, World Bulletin reported.

Peace Now said on December 28 that Israel was working to revive and extend plans for new Jewish settler homes in the contentious area of the occupied West Bank known as E1.

In a report it said was based on government data obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, the group said the housing ministry was seeking to build 55,548 units in the West Bank, including two new settlements of which more than 8,300 homes would be in E1.

E1 and the adjacent Maaleh Adumim settlement form an Israeli buffer east of Beit-ul-Moqaddas that the Palestinians say would divide the West Bank and badly hurt the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state.

The United States, the United Nations and the European Union oppose all Israeli settlement building but have voiced particular concern about plans for E1.