Planning Committee Meets to Approve 2,800 New Homes in Yehudah and Shomron

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of construction in Karnei Shomron. (Sraya Diamant/FLASH90)

A committee convened Wednesday to approve 2,800 new homes in Yehudah and Shomron, a day after the Biden administration issued its strongest condemnation yet of Israeli settlement construction.

The Defense Ministry’s higher planning council, which authorizes construction in Yehudah and Shomron, met to authorize the housing units, with more than half of them getting final approval before building starts.

Approval of the new construction is bound to raise friction with the United States and Europe, anger the Palestinians and test the fragile coalition.

On Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said that it was “deeply concerned” about Israel’s plans to advance new settlement homes in Yehudah and Shomron.

The committee is also supposed to approve 1,600 housing units for Palestinians who live in areas of Yehudah and Shomron that are under Israeli control, outside the enclaves administered by the Palestinian Authority. Palestinians and rights groups say those homes are a small fraction of the demand.

Meanwhile, right-wing MKs and officials expressed outrage Wednesday over the Biden administration’s criticism of Israel’s planned construction in Yehudah and Shomron.

Yossi Dagan, head of the Shomron Regional Council, spoke out harshly against the department and called on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett “and the Foreign Ministry to put the State Department spokesman and the U.S. charge d’affaires in their place and make it clear to them that the British Mandate and Ottoman rule have long ended.”

He added that Israel had to deal with opposition from Washington in the past and that this time “it is not Biden. It is Bennett. Half a million Israelis [in Yehudah and Shomron] are not second-class citizens.”