Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported that Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, approved last September a plan to construct additional 538 units in the Itamar illegal Israeli settlement, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus. The new plan is meant at doubling the size of the settlement.Haaretz said that it obtained a document revealing that Barak approved the plan despite the fact that the Israeli Planning and Construction Committee has not approved it yet, the Radio Bethlehem 2000 reported.

According to Haaretz, a meeting was held on September 24, 2012, at the office of Barak to discuss the new plan to expand the settlement.

Barak “legalized” 138 illegal units built by the settlers without Israeli construction permits, and decided to build additional 538 units. The only condition he set forth was that the settlers need to obtain construction permits from the Israeli Defense Ministry before they start the constructions.

It is worth mentioning that the Israeli Planning and Construction Committee will be discussing the new plan this week; the plan does not include illegal outposts that were built by the settlers on Palestinian lands near the settlement.

In 2011 Palestinian teenager from Awarta nearby village allegedly murdered a settler family in their home in Itamar settlement. Since then, the settlers have tried to convince the Israeli government to expand their settlement. The stabbing attack victims were a father, mother, and their 3 children, including a baby.

Following the stabbing, the army detained and interrogated hundreds of residents, including more than a 100 women, especially from the eastern area of the village.

The Palestinian teenager was convicted by an Israeli court of killing the settler family, and was sentenced to five life terms.

Amjad Awad, a 19-year old student, allegedly confessed to the murders after he was swept up in raids of his village, Awarta, following the attack.

Awad stated he was subjected to ‘harsh interrogation’ tactics and torture for several days.

His cousin, Hakim Awad, was sentenced in September to five life terms plus five years for participating in the deadly attack.

Awarta Village Council Head, Qais Awwad, stated that he believes that the two teenagers may not be the real doers, hinting that they may have confessed under severe torture.