The Construction reported into today’s Israeli media refers to four settlements (Rotem, Eshkolot-Sansana, Halamish-Neve Zuf and Kiryat Netafim) in which construction was already taking place and/or completed without any relevant permits or authorization.
Today Defense Minister Barak authorized retroactively these construction sites by publishing development plans for each and every one.
Two of these settlements were ordered by the court to halt construction (Halamish and Kiryat Netafim), after Peace Now appealed the courts with evidence of absence of development plans.
We will now have to study these plans carefully to check whether they include only the already completed/constructing units or also include a widening of each settlement with authorization for further growth and extension of settlement perimeters.
Once again the government is capitulating to settler pressure, ignoring international relations and Palestinian rights.
Barak’s message to the settlers is clear – they can continue to construct illegally and sometime down the line, whether it be five or ten years later, eventually their construction will be authorized.