Israel approves 15 West Bank buildings


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Defense Ministry approved plans to legalize the construction of 15 buildings in a Jewish West Bank settlement.

The approval of the structures, which were built illegally, was announced late Tuesday. It came in response to a petition filed in August by Peace Now to Israel’s Supreme Court asking that the state raze the buildings, which were constructed without necessary permits.

The construction in Kiryat Netafim, in the northern West Bank, reportedly began long before the announcement last month of a 10-month freeze on construction in Jewish settlements in the territory. This week’s approval of the construction appears to violate the freeze. Peace Now says some of the structures were built on Palestinian land.

Meanwhile, Civil Administration officials have completed inspections of about 150 settlements in the West Bank and issued 174 stop-work orders at construction sites that violate the freeze, according to the Jerusalem Post. Inspectors reportedly will visit the settlements to make sure the orders are being obeyed.

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