Israel reduces building permits for Judea and Samaria, freezes Jerusalem housing starts

The Prime Minister’s Office is reportedly blocking building approvals, despite its denials.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Hard on the heels of news that the Housing Ministry has approved the doubling of a planned neighborhood for Beit El to 650 homes, Kan Israel News reported Wednesday that the Settlement Subcommittee of the Civil Administration approved plans for the construction of only half the number of housing units in Judea and Samaria than had been expected – about 1,000. Moreover, 620 of them will have to undergo additional rounds of permissions before final approval is attained.

In addition, the report said that plans to legalize an outpost in the Gush Etzion bloc and an educational institution’s compound near Kfar Adumim were shelved at the last moment following an order from the political echelon.

The Yesha council reacted angrily to the smaller number of building permits.

“This is the smallest number of housing units approved in the last year and a half,” it charged in a statement. “In the previous committees, the number of building permits was between 2,000 and 3,000 housing units, which were also relatively small compared to the total number of permits in the entire country that stands at tens of thousands of housing units.”

“It is precisely a national government that should not reduce construction, but expand it. We call upon the Prime Minister to remove the restrictions and barriers and to instruct on broad construction throughout Judea and Samaria, as in the rest of the country. This can and should be done today,” the statement added, Arutz-7 reported.

Meanwhile, over a thousand planned housing starts will not be made in Jerusalem due to instructions being handed down from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), according to a recent report on Israel’s Hadashot News. The building freeze list includes 500 units in Ramat Shlomo, 420 units in Gilo, 200 in Ramot Alon and 150 in Ramot. All these neighborhoods are in the section of the capital liberated in the Six Day War.

Building contractors have asked the prime minister to authorize them urgently but have been refused, said the report, which noted that the only reaction received from the PMO was: “The Prime Minister’s Office does not delay construction in Jerusalem.”