Israel Pushes Ahead With Settlement Expansion

Snubs Kerry Peace Push With West Bank Homes

getty images

By Reuters

Published June 13, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel is pressing on with plans for more than 1,000 new homes in two West Bank settlements, officials said on Thursday, moves that could complicate U.S. efforts to persuade Palestinians, seeking a construction freeze, to return to peace talks.

An Israeli setttlers’ council has asked Israeli zoning authorities in the occupied territory to approve the building of 550 housing units in Bruchin, an unauthorised outpost granted legal status by Israel last year.

The extent of Bruchin’s expansion, where some 350 settlers live, had not been disclosed previously.

The officials said zoning authorities also received a plan from the council for the construction of 537 dwellings in the settlement of Itamar, along with the retroactive approval of 130 homes built there without permits.

The Itamar building proposal was announced in 2012 and approved by then-Defence Minister Ehud Barak, after an Israeli couple and three of their children were killed in the settlement by two Palestinian attackers in 2011.

Israeli settlement expansion on occupied land that Palestinians seek for a future state alongside Israel has been the main stumbling block to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s latest attempts to revive peace talks that collapsed in 2010.

“The continuation of settlement activity is killing the two- state solution,” Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah told Reuters in response to news of the proposed housing projects. “The international community must take action before this solution dies.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has so far linked a resumption of peace talks to a total freeze in settlement construction, which Palestinians see as establishing facts on the ground that deny them land they need for a viable state.

Israel and the United States have urged Abbas to return to the negotiations without preconditions.

Opponents of the two construction plans now have two months in which to lodge objections against them. Further authorisation by the current defence minister, Moshe Yaalon, is required before building permits can be issued.

Some 500,000 Israelis have settled in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas Israel captured along with the Gaza Strip in the 1967 conflict. About 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.