Israel approves plans for hundreds of residential units in West Bank settlements 9Aug13 August 9, 2013

Haaretz     -     8 August 2013

3259687573The Civil Administration, Israel’s highest civilian authority in the West Bank, approved construction plans on Wednesday for 878 housing units in isolated settlements across the territory.

Discussion of some of the plans had initially been postponed following U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry‘s announcement that diplomatic negotiations with the Palestinians would resume, but was brought back to the drawing table in recent days.

Several plans that had already been approved in the past by the government came up for discussion in the Civil Administration Higher Planning Council, including validations for the construction of 95 new residential units in the settlement of Shiloh, on a site in a southern neighborhood that now holds chicken coops.

Validation is the final stage necessary for approval in the planning council, paving the way for the construction and sale of the unit – pending approval by the Defense Ministry.

The council also gave retroactive approval for the construction of 17 residential units in another area of Shiloh, where the Amana movement has already begun to build, apparently without permits.

The High Court of Justice issued an interim injunction against the continuation of construction at the site, in response to a petition.

A criminal investigation was then launched by the Judea and Samaria Police central investigative unit, but the state continued to push for building permission. Following the retroactive approval, the official documents will be available for public viewing and objections.

Some 559 residential units were retroactively approved in the settlement of Talmon, 304 of them in the settlement’s northern neighborhood of Zayit Raanan. There are about 30 buildings in that neighborhood at present, only 10 of them legally constructed. Now, according to the plan, the northern neighborhood is scheduled to become a spacious sub-division. Another 255 units were retroactively approved in Talmon, in the Nahalei Tal neighborhood where fields currently stand.

In Kokhav Yaakov a plan for 38 residential units was retroactively approved, and on Kibbutz Gilgal in the Jordan Valley another 78 units have been added to the 156 already in place. In Almog, which is near the Dead Sea, 31 units were approved, and in Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion a plan for 60 units was advanced.

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