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.


Explosion targets a tourist bus, injures at least 17 near Cairo’s Great Pyramids: Security sources

Updated 40 min 37 sec ago
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Explosion targets a tourist bus, injures at least 17 near Cairo’s Great Pyramids: Security sources

  • There were no reports of deaths
  • One security source said they included South African nationals

CAIRO: An explosion targeting a tourist bus injured at least 17 people near a new museum being built close to the Giza pyramids in Egypt on Sunday, two security sources said.

The sources said that most of the injuries were foreign tourists, with some social media users posting pictures of a damaged bus and what looked like injured tourists.

One security source said they included South African nationals.

There were no reports of deaths. A witness, Mohamed El-Mandouh, told Reuters he heard a "very loud explosion" while sitting in traffic near the site of the blast.

Pictures posted on social media showed a bus with some of its windows blown out or shattered, and debris in the road next to a low wall with a hole in it.

It is the second to target foreign tourists near the famed pyramids in less than six months. In December, three Vietnamese tourists and an Egyptian guide were killed and at least 10 others injured when a roadside bomb hit their tour bus less than 4 kilometres from the Giza pyramids. 

Egypt has battled militants for years in the Sinai Peninsula in an ongoing insurgency that has occasionally spilled over to the mainland, which often targets minority Christians or tourists.

The attack comes as Egypt's vital tourism industry is showing signs of recovery after years in the doldrums because of the political turmoil and violence that followed a 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Hosni Mubarak.

(With Agencies)