The Higher Planning Council of the Civil Administration convened on the eve of Sukkot (10 October 2019) and approved plans for 2,342 housing units in the settlements, according to the minutes of the meeting published. 59% of the approved units are in settlements that Israel likely may evacuate under a peace agreement (according to the Geneva Initiative).
1,623 of the units were approved for deposit (phase one of the planning process), and 719 units were approved for validation (final planning approval).
On 30 October 2019, the Higher Planning Council approved a building permit for the construction of the new Tunnel Road, which bypasses Bethlehem to the west and is expected to dramatically increase the number of settlers in the Bethlehem area. This will end all the necessary bureaucratic procedures, and field work will be able to begin soon.
Plans for 8,337 housing units in the settlements have been approved since the beginning of the year, an increase of close to 50% compared to 2018, when plans for 5,618 housing units were approved. This brings the average number of housing units approved in the three years since President Trump was elected, to 6,899 housing units, almost twice the average in the three years preceding them (3,635 housing units).
Peace Now: “The figures speak for themselves. Netanyahu continues to sabotage the possibility of a political agreement with the Palestinians by promoting more settlement construction in the West Bank, including in places where Israel may have to evacuate as part of a future agreement. This is yet another dangerous step for both Israel and the Palestinians, led by a transitional prime minister whom the public did not trust in his policies. The next government must put a freeze on the development of settlements and to strive for immediate resumption of negotiations with the Palestinians without preconditions and to end the bloody conflict based on the principle of two states for two peoples.”
Among the approved plans are the following:
Mevo’ot Yericho – 182 housing units – A plan for construction in the newly “regularized” settlement of Mevo’ot Yericho, north of Jericho–an outpost which the government decided on the eve of the September 2019 election to retroactively legalize.
Dolev – 382 housing units – A plan for the establishment of 382 housing units in the Dolev settlement west of Ramallah (a large number for a small settlement).
Following the assassination of the late Rina Schnerb in the Ein Bubin spring near Dolev last August, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated his intention to build 300 additional housing units in Dolev.
Bracha – 207 units – The plan, in the Bracha settlement, adjacent to Nablus, is a significant extension of the settlement. On 19/9/19, the general in charge of the Israeli Central Command (West Bank, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv) signed a decree expanding the settlement’s jurisdiction to allow the plan to be approved.
The plan for regularizing the illegal Jordan Valley outpost of Brosh received final approval. It serves as an educational institution that includes hundreds of students and families of staff members. The Kerem Reim outpost, established in 2012 and retroactively legalized, also received a newly approved plan with 140 new units.
Plans Promoted in West Bank Settlements Per Year
2012 – 11,159
2013 – 10,310
2014 – 6,329
2015 – 1,732
2016 – 2,613
2017 – 6,742
2018 – 5,618
2019 – 8,337
Source: Peace Now
Edited for IMEMC: Ali Salam