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Israel approves 400-plus housing units in Judea

Elazar is located in Gush Etzion, 11 miles south of Jerusalem.

View of Efrat, in Gush Etzion, Judea and Samaria, on January 6, 2020. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.
View of Efrat, in Gush Etzion, Judea and Samaria, on January 6, 2020. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.

The Higher Planning Committee of Israel’s Civil Administration on Wednesday approved the construction of more than 400 housing units in the town of Elazar in Judea.

Elazar is located in the Gush Etzion group of communities about 11 miles south of Jerusalem and just west of the city of Efrat.

The homes will be built in Elazar’s Netiv Ha’avot neighborhood, where four-and-a-half years ago 15 homes were demolished by order of the Supreme Court. The demolition was carried out in June 2018.

At the time, Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman drafted an official resolution stating that hundreds of housing units would be built in the exact location of the 15 homes.

Ne’eman said in response to Wednesday’s news: “Today we are privileged to close the circle that opened exactly six years ago, when I assumed the role of council chairman. Back then the court responded to those trying to save their homes—by destroying. Today, that ‘curse’ became a blessing with the new approvals.”

In addition to the Elazar construction, more than 1,000 housing units were approved throughout Gush Etzion. Also, the eastern Gush community of Pnei Kedem was officially registered in the Israel Land Registry.

The announcement came on the backdrop of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Feb. 20 decision to freeze plans to regularize the legal status of additional outposts in Judea and Samaria for the next few months, although he didn’t specify a precise timeframe.

The freeze does not apply to a decision earlier this month to authorize nine such communities in response to a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Jerusalem.

The prime minister’s announcement partially confirms a report that Israel has made a series of concessions as part of an informal U.S.-mediated deal with the Palestinians to reduce tensions ahead of Ramadan, which will begin on March 22 or 23.

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