PM Netanyahu, Minister Liberman Approve 2,500 New ‘Fast Track’ Homes in Yehudah and Shomron

Construction in Ariel, in the Shomron. (Flash90)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman announced on Tuesday plans to build 2,500 more homes in Yehudah and Shomron, the second announcement of new construction since President Donald Trump took office.

A statement from the Defense Ministry said the plans, authorized by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, were intended to fulfill a demand for new housing “to maintain regular daily life.”

The home are to be built inside the settlement blocs, including the area within Gush Etzion and the Ariel bloc, as well as in Maale Adumim. Commenting on the approvals, Liberman said that “things are getting back to normal in Yehudah and Shomron.” Netanyahu’s office said that “Israel has been building and will continue to build.”

About 100 homes will be built in Beit El, which is not inside a settlement bloc. Those homes will be built to fulfill an agreement between the government and former residents of Migron, a Binyamin outpost that was demolished in 2012. The plan includes a “fast track” roadmap for quick deployment of tenders and rapid approval of building plans by the Defense Ministry. Marketing of the projects should take place within months, the Ministry said.

Of the 2,500 housing units approved, approximately 900 will be built in the city of Ariel in the northern Shomron. Another 166 will be built in Emanuel, along with 100 in Oranit and 18 in Elkana, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Some 600 housing units were also approved for the Givat Ze’ev neighborhood, north of Yerushalayim. In addition, Liberman approved the construction of a new “seam line” industrial zone, to be built near the Tarqumiya checkpoint west of Chevron. The planned industrial zone will be one of the biggest in Yehudah and Shomron, and will include several heavy industries and a gas storage facility. The Cabinet will vote on funding the industrial zone in the coming days, Liberman’s office said.

Earlier in the week, the Yerushalayim municipality approved the construction of 560 new homes in areas of Yerushalayim liberated in the 1967 Six Day War. The approvals were set to be handed down several weeks ago, but city officials said that they were asked to hold off until after President Trump took office.