Israel approves thousands of new West Bank housing units


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Defense Ministry committee approved plans for the construction of at least 3,659 new housing units in the West Bank.

It is the largest group of West Bank housing units advanced since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017. The Trump administration is expected to roll out an Israel-Palestinian peace plan after the Israeli elections.

Some 73 percent of the units, or 2,656, are in settlements that Israel likely will have to evacuate under a permanent peace agreement, according to Peace Now. Some 1,226 of the homes received final approval for construction.

The Higher Planning Council of the Civil Administration approved the 28 plans last week.

The prime minister and the defense minister must approve the plans; Benjamin Netanyahu currently holds both positions.

“The construction of the settlements only makes it harder to end the occupation and to get to a two states peace agreement and is bad for the Israeli interest to remain a democratic and secured state,” Peace Now said in a statement, which noted that Netanyahu announced that he will annex the West Bank if he is re-elected.

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