Israel announces 2,500 new settler homes to be built in the West Bank

Marcus Dysch, Jewish Chronicle, 24 January 2017

Israel has announced it will build 2,500 new homes for settlers in the West Bank.

The decision was confirmed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman, Defence Minister, this afternoon.

Mr Netanyahu said it was a sign that Israel would not change its policy in the West Bank.

“I have agreed with the defence minister on 2,500 units in Judea and Samaria. We are building, and will continue to build,” he tweeted.

Mr Lieberman said a new Palestinian industrial park would also be constructed in Tarkumiya, north of Hebron. He said it would be one of the largest such zones in the Palestinian territory, and would include warehouses and fuel storage centres.

Of the house constructions, he said: “We are returning to normative life in Judea and Samaria.”

Hannah Weisfeld, director of Yachad, the British Jewish pro-Israel pro-peace organisation, said: “This attempt to take advantage of the change in American administration to establish new facts on the ground is grossly irresponsible.

“Building thousands more homes in settlements which are illegal under international law and which directly undermine the viability of a future Palestinian state will push back the cause of peace and heighten the risk of increased violence.

“At a time when we should be doing everything we can to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table, this move sends all the wrong signals.”

Earlier, Tobias Ellwood, Britain’s Middle East Minister commented on plans to build 566 settler homes in east Jerusalem.

He said: “It is the long held view of the British government that settlements built on occupied Palestinian territory are contrary to international law and an obstacle to a two-state solution and we condemn them.

“The UK reiterates its support for a negotiated peace settlement that leads to an Israel that is safe from terrorism and a Palestinian state that is viable and sovereign.”

Read the full article on the Jewish Chronicle website

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