Israel to build 2,000 West Bank apartments 17Nov11 November 17, 2011

YNet News  -  15 November 2011

Housing Minister Ariel Atias announced Tuesday a tender for thousands of housing units nationwide, including some 2,000 apartments to be marketed by the government beyond the Green Line.

 The housing plan comes some two weeks after the Palestinians were accepted as a full member in UNESCO, a move that prompted the forum of top eight government ministers to declare that Israel will accelerate its West Bank construction to in retaliation.

The latest housing venture will see construction plans accelerated in four Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem and in three West Bank settlements – Maaleh Adumin, Efrat and Har Adar.

 The plans in question, which total 1,953 apartments, have already received all the required approvals, but for various reasons had not been marketed until now. However, in light of the housing minister’s latest decision, control of the plans will be shifted from the government to private contractors, who will receive construction permits.

In a session at the beginning of the month, the forum of top eight government ministers – led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – decided to accelerate construction in Judea and Samaria communities that are slated to remain in Israel’s hands in the framework of future peace deals.

 The plans in question have already drawn numerous condemnations in the past from the United States, European states and the Arab world, which all view such construction as a violation of the Oslo Accords.

 The latest move marks another phase in Israel’s effort to “punish” the Palestinians over their UNESCO bid. On Monday, the cabinet decided to halt the transfer of tax funds to the Palestinian Authority, also in protest of the PA’s joining UNESCO.

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