‘Crazy numbers’ – record amount of housing approvals for Judea and Samaria

The 13,000 units ratified by the Supreme Housing Council break the previous record set during the Trump administration.

By Batya Jerenberg World Israel News

The slow wheels of Israeli bureaucracy have turned faster than they ever have before in one area at least since the inauguration of the country’s first fully right-wing government – housing approvals for Judea and Samaria.

Some 13,000 units were approved by the Supreme Planning Council in the last six months, breaking the previous annual record of 10,223 set in the previous Netanyahu administration during the last year in office of then-president Donald Trump.

In contrast to many previous years when the Council did not meet as legally required, once a quarter, thus contributing to the delay in housing and public building starts in the disputed region, it has met twice thus far in the last six months. In February, 7,000 plans were approved at various stages of construction, and on Sunday 4,560 more passed its muster.

In addition, as a direct response to the terror attack in Eli Tuesday in which two Palestinian Hamas members murdered four Israelis, two of them minors, and injured another four, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich announced that some 1,000 more houses will be built in the Samarian village.

“These are crazy numbers,” a source involved in the region’s building told Israel Hayom Thursday, giving credit mostly to Smotrich, who also serves as a minister in the Defense Ministry. His particular purview, as demanded in coalition negotiations, is the Civil Administration, which that runs the relevant housing planning committee, among other bureaucratic necessities in the Israeli-controlled portions of Judea and Samaria.

The settler movement and its supporters are hopeful that the housing process will continue to accelerate, to help realize Smotrich’s openly-stated desire to fill Judea and Samaria with a million Jewish residents. The trend does seem to be positive, considering Sunday’s Cabinet decision, made as an amendment to a 1996 government decision, to lop off several permission stages in the approval process.

The Israeli Left wasted no time in criticizing the newest round of approvals and the easing of planning requirements.

“We are already in a big crisis with the Americans,” Opposition leader Yair Lapid told Israel Hayom, “and this kind of behavior causes damage at a time when we need them. The Americans are rushing to an agreement with Iran, and if we want to take risks regarding this, then this government is really insane.”