Israel allows first settlement building under Bennett

Israel gives first go-ahead for illegal settlements building under PM Bennett
2 min read
24 June, 2021
The High Planning Subcommittee of Israel's Civil Administration gave the go-ahead to 31 of 33 proposals for building in settlements, according to reporting.
This is the first such move from Israel during Naftali Bennett's premiership [JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty]

Israel has authorised a wave of  West Bank settlements building, the first such move made during the rule of the so-called "government of change".

The Jewish state is under the premiership of far-right Naftali Bennett, and has been since the new government came to power after ousting Benjamin Netanyahu just over 10 days ago.

There were 33 proposals concerning illegal settlements considered by the High Planning Subcommittee of Israel's Civil Administration, according to The Times of Israel on Wednesday.

The paper said Hebrew-language coverage explained 31 of these were eventually given the go-ahead.

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Among the proposals given authorisation were a shopping mall in Mishor Adumim, which is an industrial zone in Maale Adumim, near Jerusalem.

The nod was also given for a special provision school in Elkana, plus Jewish synagogues and religious educational establishments in the settlements of Kfar Adumim and Karnei Shomron.

However, for some, this wasn't enough. The Yesha Council, a network for the illegal settlements, insisted that housing construction be allowed, calling on the decision makers to get back together to permit this.

It hit out: "We’ve been waiting for half a year for the approval of homes and it still hasn’t happened... We've waited long enough."

Meanwhile, the leader of Israel's predominantly Palestinian Joint List political grouping, Ayman Odeh, took to Twitter to slam the move.

He noted just how short a time the new government has been in power to have given permission for 31 construction proposals.

The parliamentarian continued: "The left caves to the right and sidelines the diplomatic issue, but the right continues to sabotage the prospects for peace and deepen the occupation, the oppression and dispossession of millions of Palestinians".

Palestine's West Bank was taken by Israel during 1967's Six-Day War and has been subject to an illegal occupation ever since.

As of November 2019, there were more than 200 Israeli settlements inhabited by approximately 620,000 illegal settlers.

Palestinians living in the West Bank frequently face serious violence and intimidation from these commonly extremist Israelis.

Settlers allegedly shot Ismail Tubasi to death in mid-May.

The Palestinian man, who was from the village of Al-Rihiya near Hebron, had been trying to put out fires reportedly also started by settlers. The police are yet to launch an investigation into the matter.