Israeli Minister approves five more mobile homes in an illegal West Bank settlement

Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported hat Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved the transfer of five more mobile homes into the illegal Israeli settlement of Teneh Omarim, in the southern Hebron Hills, in the southern part of the West Bank.The settlers who will move into these caravans are evacuees from Mirag Settlement of the Gush Katif settlement block.

The military-controlled Civil Administration Office in the occupied West Bank, confirmed that the Israeli authorities had approved the mobile homes and that the homes had been set up.

Eitan Broshi, Barak’s aid for settlement affairs, stated in response to a question by member of Knesset Avshalom Vilan from the Meretz party, that the mobile homes had been approved and will be placed within an area which has a valid housing construction plan, Haaretz reported.

Teneh Omarim illegal settlement is located east of the Annexation Wall and is not part of any large settlement bloc in the occupied West Bank.

Meanwhile, Vilan said that placing the mobile homes violates the Israeli government’s pledge of not expanding existing settlements. The placement of these mobile homes also violates a pledge by the Government of Ariel Sharon to the US administration in which he vowed that evacuees of Gush Katif settlement would not be relocated within the West Bank.

Vilan described the decision as a shameful surrender to the extreme right wing in Israel, and demanded that Barak remove these mobile homes.

Under the Road Map Plan, Israel pledged that it would not construct in existing West Bank settlements, even if this construction is intended to accommodate natural population increase.

Moreover, several settler families who were evacuated from the former Israeli settlement of Netzarim, which was also evacuated under the Disengagement Plan, have moved recently to Ariel settlement in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.

Other groups of settlers are currently awaiting settlement in illegal settlements in the Jordan valley area of the West Bank. The settlers were granted an order from the Israeli defense minister, Amir Peretz, in which he decided that 30 more homes would be built for settlers who were evacuated from the Gaza Strip.

Haaretz stated that Peretz subsequently retracted his decision, but that the settlers started building homes without permits and some families moved into these homes at the beginning of March 2007. The Civil Administration Office issued an order to demolish seven of these homes but the order was never implemented.

Israeli Peace Now group reported recently that construction of houses for settlers in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem is ongoing.

The projects included a 4.840.000 NIS housing project in Maali Adumim settlement, and hundreds of houses in Givat Ze’ev settlement, as well as ongoing construction in Har Shmoel, Alfei Menashe, Neveh Daniel, Rosh Tzurim, Har Gilo, Karnei Shomron and other settlements, Peace Now stated according to Haaretz.

Peace Now added that settlers are placing mobile homes and are building permanent homes in several outposts in the West Bank.

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Saed Bannoura

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