*** Update from 1/2/24: Eventually, the plan for new housing units was not discussed at the meeting of the HPC***
The Higher Planning Council (HPC) of the Civil Administration in the West Bank will convene the Subcommittee for Settlements and hold two discussions on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, and Thursday, February 1, 2024. On Thursday, the council will discuss the approval of the construction of 68 new housing units in the Givat Ze’ev settlement.
During the two days of discussions, dozens of plans for public and industrial building construction or changes in building lines and heights will precede, along with the HPC’s deliberation on a plan for the approval of 68 housing units in Givat Zeev (Plan No. YOSH/42/2/215).
The discussions in the HPC at the end of January will be the first for the year 2024. As a reminder, in 2023, the Israeli government advanced 12,349 housing units in the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), a record number since Peace Now began in 2012 to systematically record the advancement of settlement plans via the planning procedures. In the past year, several changes were made to the Civil Administration. It was decided that the responsibility for the planning procedures would transfer from the Minister of Defense to the Minister of Settlements, Bezalel Smotrich. Furthermore, planning procedures no longer require approval from the political echelon and the Minister of Defense. The implication of this decision is that once Minister Smotrich decides and approves the advancement of construction plans in West Bank settlements, the plans will go directly to the planning committees in the West Bank (the HPC), and the political and military echelon will have no authority to delay or influence the planning stages or the submitted plans.
Peace Now: “The Netanyahu-Smotrich-Ben Gvir government continues its destructive construction in the West Bank, adding to the illegal construction widespread throughout the West Bank in the past year and an unrestrained development across all areas of the Occupied Territories. The government of Israel begins 2024 with a clear signal that it is heading towards eliminating the two-state solution, despite the clear understanding that only this solution can halt the cycle of violence.”