Second Round of Approvals Brings New Houses in Yehudah and Shomron to 2,600

YERUSHALAYIM -
A Palestinian worker at a construction site in Maalei Adumim, near Yerushalayim. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner, File)

Israel went ahead with another round of declared building starts on Wednesday, bringing the total for the week to over 2,600 new homes for Yehudah and Shomron, despite criticism both from the European Union which wants it stopped and Israeli regional leaders who say it’s not enough.

The Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration’s High Planning Subcommittee approved another 1,300 housing units on Wednesday. They included 459 homes in Maalei Adumim, 86 for the evacuees of Migron and 102 for the evacuees from Amona.

The committee’s approval – termed “validation” – is usually the final phase prior to actual construction. However, in the case of Maalei Adumim, due to the city’s population of over 30,000, an additional stage will be required for the marketing by the Housing Ministry to private contractors, who will then carry out the construction.

Regional leaders were not mollified by the announcement, however. They held a press conference outside Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s private residence in Yerushalayim to protest against inadequate security in Yehudah and Shomron, and their disappointment that the government was not keeping a promise to build 3,800 homes in the region.

Shomron Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan expressed dissatisfaction with Tuesday’s announcement by Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s office of a 3.3 billion shekel ($939 million) defense envelope for Jewish communities in Yehudah and Shomron.

Dagan noted that there were as yet no funds allocated for the upgrading of bypass roads with paving and surveillance installations. “Security is not ensured through these announcements, but through actions,” he said.