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Israel approves 20,000 settlement units in Maale Adumim

Oct. 28, 2018 12:36 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 30, 2018 2:46 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli government has approved the construction of more than 20,000 new housing units in the illegal Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem.

Hebrew-language news outlets reported that the approval of the new housing units came after a long period of fear and political confrontation.

Sources mentioned the existence of a comprehensive development agreement between the Israeli Ministry of Construction and Housing and the Maale Adumim Municipality to build thousands of housing units in the illegal settlement over the coming years.

Reports said that with the signing of the agreement, it will be possible to start the construction work of 470 housing units, while the remaining housing units, which make up 20,000 units, are subjected to approval of political parties.

The Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing, Yoav Galant, said "We welcome the signing of the comprehensive agreement that will lead to the development and substantial increase in the population of Maale Adumim."

Galant added that in addition to the new housing units, public buildings and institutions will be built in the illegal settlement, including Jewish synagogues, schools, and kindergartens.

He stressed "We must continue to strengthen control of the Jerusalem area, from Maale Adumim in the east to Givat Zeev in the west, from Atarut in the north to the Bethlehem area and Rachel's Tomb in the direction of Efrat and Gush Etzion, which are of historical, strategic and national importance."

Maale Adumim is the third largest settlement in population size, encompassing a large swath of land deep inside the occupied West Bank's Jerusalem district. Many Israelis consider it an Israeli suburban city of Jerusalem, despite it being located on occupied Palestinian territory in contravention of international law.

According to settlement watchdog Peace Now, in the year and a half since President Trump took office some 14,454 units in the West Bank has been approved, which is more than three times the amount that was approved in the year and half before his inauguration (4,476 units).

Since the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis have moved into Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international law.

The estimated 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law.

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