Of the 55,000-plus new settlement unit plans unveiled yesterday by Peace Now in a report on documents at the Israeli Housing Ministry, the most eye-opening were those in E1, east of East Jerusalem, which would effectively prevent a Palestinian state from ever being contiguous.
Israeli officials, particularly in the PM’s office, are seeking to reassure people that the plans are “invalid” however and will never actually be put into effect, saying that they were penned by former Housing Minister Uri Ariel, a far-right settler, without any authorization from the government to do so.
According to the officials, the Housing Ministry portfolio doesn’t hold any decision-making powers on the occupied territories, and has no authority to either build or plan to build any settlements on their own.
During his time in office, Ariel insisted repeatedly that expanding settlements into E1 was a “right and obligation” of the far-right government. He has since been moved to the Agriculture Ministry, which would have even less theoretical power to build in the West Bank.
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