Israel approves additional 3,000 homes in West Bank


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has approved plans for another 3,000 new homes in the West Bank.

The approvals by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman were announced Tuesday, ahead of the evacuation of the Amona outpost, and are seen as an effort to placate the government’s harder right wing and settlers angry over the evacuation.

While most of the approvals are for areas in the settlement blocs that Israel believes it will keep under a future peace deal, several of the approved housing units are located in other areas deep in the West Bank.

Some 2,000 of the approvals are for immediate construction, and the rest require various stages of planning, the Defense Ministry said in a statement. The statement said the approvals are “part of a return to normal life in Judea and Samaria, as well as conduct which provides real solutions to housing and living needs.” Judea and Samaria are biblical designations for the land now called the West Bank.

The approval comes a week after Netanyahu and Liberman approved 2,500 housing units in both settlement blocs and in other areas, and the approval by a Jerusalem municipal committee of 566 housing units in Jewish and Arab neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city.

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