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Israel plans settler homes to divide West Bank

Groups affected by the bill said they were being unfairly singled out and noted that hard-line groups, including Im Tirtzu and organizations that support Jewish settlers in the West Bank, are exempt.

Israel’s Ministry of Housing is working on plans for more than 55,500 units in West Bank settlements, according to a new Peace Now report.

The Housing Ministry said the plans were drawn up in 2012-13, and a year ago, it had paid off outstanding contracts with design teams.

One thousand units for the Jahalin Bedouin are also being planned, so that the tribe can be evicted them from the area of the illegal Maale Adumim settlement and E1 and moved to the planned village, the group reported.

The Peace Now group says it has obtained official documents through Israel’s freedom of information laws that show the housing ministry secretly hired architects plan homes in the E1 area of the West Bank, despite the project’s cancellation in 2013 under worldwide pressure.

“This planning, which contradicts any possible commitment to a two-state solution, continues”, said Monday’s report, although it added that the plans could be years from fruition.

“They must be approved by the minister of defense and then go through the approval process of the planning authority”, the report said.

Over the coming days, the PA (Palestinian Authority) is expected to hold a meeting to discuss the future of it’s relationship with Israel, including past decisions to sever ties with the country.

US-backed peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel collapsed in April 2014 amid bitter mutual recriminations. The West Bank has been occupied by Israel since 1967.

Elsewhere in the West Bank, the Israeli military said a Palestinian motorist rammed his auto into a checkpoint on Saturday and lightly wounded a soldier stationed there.

Amjad Iraqi, a member of the Israel-based Adalah Legal Centre of Arab Minority Rights, said the bill was a “symbolic attack on human rights organisations” and part of a wider campaign against critics of government policies in Israel and Palestine. Two Israeli soldiers were stabbed, and two Palestinian attackers were killed.

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