UN, EU attack Israel for new Judea and Samaria building permits

“The expansion of settlements has no legal effect and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law,” said a U.N. official.

By World Israel News Staff 

The United Nations is calling on Israel to rescind its announcement of the construction of over 2,300 homes in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

“The expansion of settlements has no legal effect and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law,” said U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov.

“By advancing the effective annexation of the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], it undermines the chances for establishing a Palestinian state based on relevant U.N. resolutions, as part of a negotiated two-state solution,” he added in a statement issued on Wednesday.

Israel’s Defense Ministry had authorized the plans following sessions of the Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee on Monday and Tuesday.

According to reports, 838 homes passed all stages of construction approval, with another 1,466 approved in the early planning stage. The majority were approved for smaller Jewish communities as opposed to major blocs.

The permits will provide retroactive legalization to Givat Salit in the northern Jordan Valley, Ibei Hanahal in the Judean desert, southeast of Bethlehem, and Haroeh Ha’ivri, east of Jerusalem, which was approved for an educational campus.

The last time the Civil Administration convened, in April, it authorized 3,659 construction permits.

According to a report in The Times of Israel, an agreement between the United States and Israel lowers the number of meetings of the Civil Administration from once a month to once every three months.

Peace Now, which closely monitors construction in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, decried the approvals for Israeli construction, saying they “prevent the possibility of peace.”

The European Union has also criticized Israel for its decision.

The authorization came after Israel’s Security Cabinet last month approved a plan to grant 715 building permits to Palestinians in the Israeli-controlled Area C of Judea and Samaria despite decades of policy in which Israel has limited such allowances due to the ability of Arabs to build in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas instead.

The July plan sparked outrage among some right-wing Israeli political circles, but Security Cabinet sources said that the decision on Palestinian construction would be followed by authorization for Israeli housing units.

“We promised to build hundreds of housing units – today we are doing it, both because we promised and because our mission is to establish the nation of Israel in our country, to secure our sovereignty over our historic homeland,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement released on Thursday.

Security Cabinet Minister Bezalel Smotrich said that the Israeli government is asserting itself by demonstrating that it controls Area C, in deciding when to approve Palestinian construction and in determining for itself, as well, when the time is right to administer building permits to Israelis.

JNS contributed to this report.