JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman reacted to criticism from settler leaders claiming that the government has frozen West Bank settlement construction to appease the Trump administration.
Liberman noted on Sunday at the weekly Cabinet meeting that plans to build 3,651 homes in West Bank settlements were approved last week.
“Anyone who claims that it was possible to approve more construction in the settlements is not just trying to stretch the rope but to tear it completely, thereby putting the entire settlement enterprise at risk,” he said, according to reports.
Since January 1, Israel has approved the construction of 8,345 homes in the West Bank, including 3,066 that are approved for immediate construction, the highest number of settler dwellings in 25 years.
Among the plans approved were 102 housing units for the new settlement of Amichai, the first new settlement in 25 years, which is being built for evacuees of the illegal Amona outpost.
“There isn’t and there hasn’t been a better government to take care of the Jewish settlement in Judea and Samara and to develop it,” Liberman said, using the religious terms for the West Bank.
Liberman is required to authorize each settlement housing unit approval by the Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee.