[File image: Maan Images]
By Saed Bannoura
IMEMC & Agencies: Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, has decided to approve 3,000 new units in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem. New illegal settlement also to be built in the Negev.
The decision came despite a statement made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who alleged that Tel Aviv “will not rush new plans” and “will not issue new bids at the current stage.”
Israeli sources said that Yaalon issued several similar decisions, and that most of these decisions were made in July of this year, when he approved the construction of 2,487 units for several settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli Peace Now Movement said that Yaalon is waging an extensive campaign to expand various illegal settlements, including Alia Zahav, Shilo, Kedumim, Givat Zeev, and Talmon.
In related news, the Israeli Regional Construction and Planning Committee has decided to build a new settlement of 250 units for young Israeli couples in the Negev, as part of the Ramat Negev Regional Council of Settlements. The decision came amidst massive protests against the Prawer-Begin displacement plan in the Negev.
Israel claims the decision is based on a former recommendation made by Israel’s Interior Minister.
Shmolik Rifman, head of the Ramat Negev Council, “welcomed” the decision, and asserted that the settlement would include both “secular and religious” young Jewish couples, and that he hopes construction will begin within two years.
The Prawer-Begin Plan aims at illegally confiscating nearly a million dunams of Arab – Bedouin land in the Negev, and the total destruction and removal of nearly 36 “unrecognized villages”, an issue that would lead to the displacement of about 100,000 people.
By forcing out the Arabs from the Negev and constructing malls and “Jewish-only” areas, Israel will be blocking any geographical contiguity between the Negev, Gaza and Sinai.
The plan, which passed following the first reading, would also lead to the illegal annexation of more than 800,000 dunams of Arab lands in the Negev.