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Israeli government approval of nearly 4,000 new settlement houses imminent

By Rhiannon F. - October 12, 2017
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Hebron] [Settlement Expansion] [West Bank]

Israel is likely next week to approve 3,829 new housing units for the West Bank, including within Hebron. This would mark the first time in 15 years, since 2002, Israel will have approved a new construction in the city.

While the official numbers have not yet been published, according to a Channel 2 report quoted in Haaretz, the Israeli government is looking to approve 102 housing units in the Israeli settlement of Negohot in the south Hebron hills.

Elsewhere around the West Bank, Haaretz quoted “453 housing units in Givat Ze'ev, 54 in Har Brakha, 86 in Kokhav Ya'akov, 48 in Ma'ale Mikhmas, 158 in Kfar Etzion, 296 in Beit El, 206 in Tekoa, 129 in Avnei Hefetz and 120 in Nofim” to be built.

Youth Against Settlements (YAS) Director Issa Amro told Palestine Monitor, Israel is working to approve 30 housing units inside the city of Hebron. “This would affect the Palestinian identity of the old city of Hebron and strengthen apartheid,” Amro said.

He believes the old city of Hebron is of strong Palestinian national heritage and ought to be protected. “By putting new housing in they will affect this structure and architecture,” Amro continued.

The Hebron Municipality are waiting to see if the plans will pass next week. If the construction of new housing units is passed, Hebron Municipality Committee for Revistalising Hebron Director Emab Hamdan stated they will assess the details. “If we see it is illegal we will take it to the High Court,” Hamdan told Palestine Monitor.

If the plans are passed, Amro sees it as a clear violation of international law. “You don’t need to prove it, its very obvious,” he said. Amro stresses the Palestinian Authority (PA) should take Israel directly to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The problem is, “there is big pressure on the PA from Israel,” Amro said. “Israel tells them that if they resist they will no longer exist. So the PA tries to keep its existence and does not resist the occupation, not even peacefully.”

Hamdan believes any new plans to build inside Hebron will lead to more tension in the area and will make it harder to achieve peace. “It is not like any other place where settlements are independent, no, they are among Palestinian residents. This will increase tension and provoke violence,” Hamdan said in a phone interview.

Amro sees the silence from the international community as breathing space for Israel to continue occupation. “The international community is not putting enough pressure on them to stop what they are doing. They can use this to their benefit, until the [world] wakes up,” he said. 

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