Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to allow the IDF Civil Administration to approve construction of more than 3,800 housing units in the settlement blocs of Judea and Samaria, as well as in isolated settlements and in the Jewish quarters of Hebron, Israeli media reported on Monday.
According to reports, the announcement follows an agreement with the Trump Administration that Israel would issue those massive construction permits in the liberated territories only once every three to four months, instead of every few weeks, and in return Washington will not condemn Israel in the wake of each announcement.
Also, the US will no longer distinguish between the settlement blocs and the isolated settlements in Judea and Samaria – allowing Israel a wider berth on territorial compromises in a future peace treaty with the PA.
The Supreme Planning Council of the Civil Administration is scheduled to convene on October 17 to approve the construction of these thousands of housing units. The council is expected to approve the construction of 129 housing Avnei Hefetz, 300 units in Beit El, 158 in Kfar Etzion, 102 in Negohot, 206 in Tekoa, 97 in Rehelim, and 48 units in Maale Michmash.
In addition, after having handed out a measly four permits in the past 20 years to the Jewish community of Hebron, the council is expected to approve the construction of 30 housing units there.
According to government sources, the new agreement on construction with the Trump Administration stems from the fact that the current President has embraced the notion that settlements are not an obstacle to peace.
The settlers’ leadership has so far reacted with cautious optimism to the new policy, which is understandable considering their past experience with Netanyahu’s promises. Head of the Mount Hebron Regional Council, Yochai Damari hailed the construction permits in Hebron, which he called an “elementary Zionist move” against the “murderous and provocative behavior of the Palestinian Authority in Hebron.” But it was clear that he was curbing his enthusiasm because of the PM’s track record on keeping his word.
Yossi Dagan, Head of Shomron Council, attacked the new plan because it offers only more housing, without the other fundamental components of long-term settlement, such as industrial parks and roads that bypass hostile Arab communities.
Zionist Camp Chairman, MK Yoel Hasson, attacked the plan’s blending of the boundaries between settlement blocks and isolated settlements, warning that in the end this could cost Israel on both counts.