Thousands of new homes approved for Judea and Samaria

Leaders of the YESHA Council put heavy pressure on the government to get the Higher Planning Council to meet and authorize the construction. 

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Meeting for the first time since February, the Higher Planning Council for Judea and Samaria approved Wednesday the construction of over 2,000 homes in the region, with a follow-up meeting scheduled for Thursday to approve some 2,500 more.

Each building request needs to pass through several rounds of discussion by the Council, which is supposed to meet on a quarterly basis. In these two meetings, between several hundred and 1,300 houses will receive their final authorization, according to various reports. The rest will either have their plans advanced or receive initial approval. Several public building complexes were also approved.

The YESHA Council that consists of all the council heads and mayors in Judea and Samaria had denounced the government for not convening the Planning Council for the last eight months. They started a public pressure campaign in the last few weeks, charging that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was carrying out a de facto building freeze after cancelling plans to apply Israeli law in the area in favor of normalizing ties with the UAE and Bahrain.

Thursday’s Council meeting will coincide with the Knesset vote to approve the formal ties between the UAE and Israel. To mitigate criticism over the Gulf country’s historic move to open diplomatic relations with the Jewish state, Abu Dhabi said that it helped the Palestinians by doing so because in exchange Netanyahu had agreed to shelve the sovereignty idea.

Gush Etzion Regional Council Head Shlomo Ne’eman said that building was also an expression of sovereignty as he welcomed the news of the approvals.

“Sovereignty is not just legal documents, important as they are. Sovereignty is more and more Jews who establish their home in the land of their forefathers here and for all time. So Prime Minister Netanyahu deserves our blessings and a big thank you today. Despite being intensively involved in the problems of the hour, he is also advancing strategic plans to strengthen our hold in Judea and Samaria,” Ne’eman said.

While about half of the homes receiving some form of approval Wednesday are in the Jerusalem area, a few hundred are in more isolated communities. Two hundred were authorized for Meitzad, which is one of the 15 settlements that would become an Israeli enclave in a Palestinian state as envisioned in the Trump peace plan.