‘Thwarting Palestinian Statehood’ – Israel recognizes 3 new towns in Judea and Samaria, green lights thousands of new homes

Israel legalizes three fledgling communities in Judea and Samaria, moves forward with new housing projects which include 5,300 new units for Jewish towns in the area.

By David Rosenberg, World Israel News

The Israeli government has legalized three additional fledgling communities in Judea and Samaria, days after it recognized five other towns.

According to a report by the left-wing Peace Now organization which was released on Thursday, the Higher Planning Committee, at the behest of the Israeli government, formally recognized the status of three so-called “outpost communities” built near existing Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria.

The three fledgling communities include Mahane Gadi, a town of 37 families near the existing community of Masu’a in the Jordan Valley, Givat Hanan outside of Sussia in the Hebron Hills area of Judea, and Kedem Arava, near Beit HaArava just north of the Dead Sea.

At the Higher Planning Committee’s meetings Wednesday and Thursday, during which the three towns were legalized, approval was granted for 5,295 new housing units in Israeli towns across Judea and Samaria.

This week’s meetings of the Higher Planning Committee mark the first time the body has convened since the establishment of the new Settlements Administration, created at the behest of Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who also serves as a Minister in the Defense Ministry, with authority over settlement affairs.

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The establishment of the Settlements Administration places authority over Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria under civilian control, under the auspices of Smotrich’s ministerial portfolio, rather than under the authority of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Peace Now has decried the establishment of the Settlements Administration as a step towards de facto annexation of Judea and Samaria.

A week earlier, Israel’s security cabinet voted to recognize five other fledgling Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and to impose sanctions on the Palestinian Authority.

The vote came in response to the unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood by a number of European countries, and followed the Canadian government’s announcement it was sanctioning organizations and individuals it described as “extremist settlers.”

Last month, Israel’s Civil Administration designated 2,965 acres of land in the Jordan Valley as state land, part of the process for preparing the groundwork for the new housing projects green lighted this week.

On Wednesday, Smotrich hailed the upcoming housing approvals and recognition of additional outpost communities as a death knell for Palestinian statehood.

“Thank God, we are building and developing the settlements and thwarting the danger of a Palestinian state,” Smotrich said.

“This is a combined, massive action whose goal is to thwart the Palestinian state. We are always, and even more so at this time, committed to the development of this good land and to thwart the discourse on a Palestinian state that would reward terrorism.”

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In addition to the 5,295 housing units approved this week, some 750 additional units are expected to be green lighted in the near future.