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Israel Moves Forward with 1,065 Settlement Housing Units

Israel’s Civil Administration is advancing plans for the development of 1,065 housing units in eight different settlements throughout occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, a settlement watchdog announced on Thursday.

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The civil administration — Israel’s governing body for the occupied West Bank — approved 15 plans for various planning stages in the settlements at hand, Peace Now said.

According to Ma’an News Agency, approved plans included legalizing 228 already existing housing units that have been completed in settlements, as well as 541 new housing units yet to be constructed.

An infrastructure plan connecting 296 housing units was also given the go ahead.

One of the plans passed by the administration will begin construction of 24 housing units, in two new buildings, at the Bet El settlement near the West Bank town of Ramallah.

Commonly known as the “Dreinoff buildings,” the two new buildings will join others built on private Palestinian lands that are supposed to be demolished by the end of this month after a ruling by the Supreme Court, Peace Now said.

“Following yesterday’s approval of the plan, the State is expected to request the Supreme Court to reverse its ruling,” the group added.

The right-wing government pieced together by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in March is largely comprised of MK’s that promote rapid settlement expansion throughout occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and publicly oppose an independent Palestinian state.

In an ongoing trend, pro-settlement groups have yielded substantial power from the government. Peace Now reported that “in recent weeks settler groups have put heavy pressure on the government, including numerous demonstrations throughout the West Bank, not to demolish the buildings.”

IMEMC is a media center developed in collaboration between Palestinian and International journalists to provide independent media coverage of Israel-Palestine.IMEMC was founded by the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People in 2003. (www.pcr.ps)  Being a joint Palestinian-International effort, IMEMC combines Palestinian journalists' deep understanding of the context, history, and the socio-political environment with International journalists' skills in non-partisan reporting.