Israel to approve thousands of unauthorized West Bank settler homes

Israel is to authorize thousands of the settler homes built illegally in the occupied West Bank, some of them decades ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday. (Reuters)
Updated 13 December 2018
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Israel to approve thousands of unauthorized West Bank settler homes

  • The move is likely to please pro-settler members of Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition while angering Palestinians
  • Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas that are also home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians

JERUSALEM: Israel is to authorize thousands of the settler homes built illegally in the occupied West Bank, some of them decades ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday.
The move is likely to please pro-settler members of Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition while angering Palestinians, who want the West Bank as part of a future state.
“Arranging the rights for the homes allows thousands of residents to be provided with infrastructure of public buildings, educational and religious buildings,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.
It did not give a specific number of homes but Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked tweeted that more than 2,000 homes would be getting permits.
Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas that are also home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians.
Settlements are one of the most heated issues in efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, frozen since 2014.
In August, an Israeli court broke new ground, and infuriated Palestinians, by giving legal recognition to the Jewish outpost of Mitzpe Kramim, built without government authorization on privately owned Palestinian land in the West Bank.
Palestinians want the West Bank for a future state, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.
Most countries consider all settlements that Israel has built in territory it captured in the 1967 Middle East war to be illegal. Israel disputes this and says their future should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu also said he would try to advance plans for 82 new housing units in the Jewish settlement of Ofra and two West Bank industrial zones.
Netanyahu last month faced a challenge from the far-right after his defense minister resigned and lashed out at the government’s acceptance of a cease-fire with the Palestinian militant group Hamas amid a surge in Gaza violence. Other far-right ministers had threatened to quit, but later backed down.


Yemeni government approves UN plan for redeployment in Hodeidah

Updated 10 sec ago
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Yemeni government approves UN plan for redeployment in Hodeidah

  • The withdrawal from Hodeidah will be carried out under the supervision of UN monitoring committee
  • The Houthi militia will withdraw by 5 km, while the Yemeni government will withdraw by 3.5 km south of the Red Sea Mills

DUBAI: The Yemeni government said on Wednesday that it approved a UN plan for redeployment in Hodeidah, Al Arabiya reported.

The withdrawal from Hodeidah will be carried out under the supervision of UN monitoring committee and will begin in the next 11 days.

The Houthi militia will withdraw by 5 km, while the Yemeni government will withdraw by 3.5 km south of the Red Sea Mills. This aims to secure the passage for relief workers to the Red Sea Mills.

The UN said it had been unable to access the Red Sea Mills - which has enough grain to feed 3.7 million people for a month - in Hodeida since Sept. last year.

Martin Griffiths and Michael Lollesgaard – who heads the monitoring mission – will oversee the implementation of the Stockholm agreement.

Lollesgaard assured the Yemeni government that the Houthis will withdraw 5 km away from Al-Saleef and Ras Eisa ports within the next four days.

Government officials are also expected to return to their official posts in Hodeidah after the Houthi withdrawal.