Israel publishes tenders for new West Bank settlement units

Israel publishes tenders for more than 1,000 new housing units in settlements in the West Bank, despite commitments made in US-backed talks in February new settlement units will be stopped for the next four months.

Since the meeting in Jordan, which was attended by US, Egyptian, Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli officials, the Israel Lands Authority has published separate tenders for 1,248 new housing units in West Bank settlements on its website.

Units in Beitar Illit, Euphrates and Gilo

Settlements include Beitar Ilit, Efrat, Kiryat Arba, Maale Efraim and Kernei Shomron, in addition to Gilo east of Jerusalem with 89 units.

Israel’s Housing and Construction Ministry said, “All tenders that have been published are in line with regulations and have obtained the necessary permissions, including from the Defense Minister.” There was no comment from the Ministry of Defense.

Expansion of settlements in the West Bank The conflict has been one of the most contentious issues between Israel and the Palestinians and the international community for decades. This has continued despite repeated calls to halt construction from allies, including the United States.

View of the ghetto of Efrat and surrounding areas in Gush Etzion, West Bank, on December 1, 2020. (Credit: Gershon Ellison / Flash90)

Just under 700,000 settlers live in 279 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, up from 520,000 in 2012, according to a report by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

Palestinians Says that the expansion of Jewish settlements on “occupied land” undermines their bid for a viable state and most countries consider such construction illegal under international law. Israel disputes this and cites biblical, historical and political ties to the West Bank as well as security interests.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s nationalist has pushed settlement expansion plans since coming to office in January.

Netanyahu’s coalition is pushing the expansion of West Bank settlements

In February, the committee overseeing the settlement plans approved the promotion of more than 7,000 housing unitsDeepest inside the West Bank, according to Peace Now, an anti-settlement group that witnessed the hearings.

In March, parliament cleared the way for the return of settlers to four settlements in the West Bank, amending a law that ordered their evacuation in 2005.

Although peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have stalled since 2014, the United States helped organize meetings in Jordan and Egypt this year to try to broker a truce. escalation of violence Which has been going on for months.

As part of the measures agreed after meeting in Jordan in February, Israel said it would halt discussions of new settlements for four months.

“By expanding settlements, Israel’s extremist government is trying to make the establishment of an independent Palestinian state impossible,” said Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee.