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Lieberman to approve 31 settlement housing units in Hebron City

Oct. 12, 2018 1:00 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 14, 2018 1:11 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, announced on Thursday that he expects the Israeli government to approve the construction of 31 new illegal settlement housing units in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Lieberman announced his intention to have the Israeli government approve the construction of 31 news illegal settlement housing units, in Hebron City, on Sunday.

He posted a tweet on his official Twitter account that the illegal settlement plan includes new housing units, kindergartens and public parks.

"We continue to strengthen the Jewish settlement in the West Bank with actions, not words."

The NGO settlement watchdog, Peace Now, and the Hebron municipality have issued an appeal to the Israeli Civil Administration against the plan.

In response to Leiberman's announcement, Peace Now said that "nothing harms Israel’s reputation as much as construction projects for Israeli settlers in Hebron City."

"Instead of evacuating them, the government surrenders to extremists and seems intent on forcing us away from peace."

Member of the Israeli Knesset Stav Shaffir of the Zionist Union political party, accused Lieberman of providing favors to an "extremist minority that is endangering the entire country" and criticized the announcement by saying "Instead of security -- political impotence."

Shaffir also said "Netanyahu and Lieberman did not eliminate Hamas as they promised, on the contrary. Terror attacks continue, the south is under fire, there is no solution to Gaza and the West Bank."

Located in the center of Hebron -- one of the largest cities in the occupied West Bank -- the Old City was divided into Palestinian and Israeli-controlled areas, known as H1 and H2, following the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre.

According to 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).

"The Netanyahu government is clearly continuing to take advantage of the carte blanche the Trump Administration has given it in order to destroy the chances for peace," Peace Now said.

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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