Housing mirage?
'Whoever says this is not an improvement misleads the public'

A senior government source responds to charges that the recent building announcements in Judea and Samaria are a mirage.

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Nitzan Kedar,

Construction in Gush Etzion
Construction in Gush Etzion
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A senior government source responded to charges that the government will build far fewer houses in Judea and Samaria than the 3,829 units announced earlier this week.

On Sunday, it was reported that a total of 3,829 housing units in Judea and Samaria would be approved next week. However, the overwhelming majority of the 3,829 units in question will not receive final approval, while some have already been constructed and will merely be receiving retroactive approval.

Of the 3,829 units which are expected to receiving approval at next week’s Higher Planning Committee meeting, only 870 are slated to receive permits – the last step before the projects can be put on the market.

According to the government source, the Judea and Samaria council leaders don't appreciate the increase in construction. "The government will approve 12 thousand housing units in various stages of planning and construction - four times the amount that was approved in 2016," the source told Arutz Sheva.

"Whoever claims that this is not a significant improvement is misleading the public...Housing units will be approved for discussion throughout Judea and Samaria, including in Hebron, Migron and Beit El, places where construction has not been approved for many years," the source continued.

The source also rebuffed criticism that Prime Minister Netanyahu was surrendering to overseas demands not to build in Judea and Samaria, saying that "whoever thinks that we shouldn't take these considerations into account is mistaken. There is no one who works harder and with more determination to build than Netanyahu."

The leaders of the Judea and Samaria Council were hoping for a wave of construction following an almost total freeze on building during the Obama administration and were mistrustful of the latest building announcement.

On Monday, Samarian Regional Council head Yossi Dagan called the recent announcement of new construction a "spin", accused the Prime Minister of "throwing sand in the public's eyes", and attacked Netanyahu for "missing a historic opportunity".

A senior official in the Judea and Samaria Council concurred with Dagan and attacked Netanyahu for approving a lower number of units than publicized.

"Netanyahu, unfortunately, is not really building the settlements," said the official. "His intentions are good, but the results are indeed poor."

"After eight years of 'construction drought', half a million people are expected to stand and applaud the approval of only 3,000 construction units, and these numbers are inflated as each stage of authorization," he complained. "A house in Judea and Samaria is counted five times, it seems, because if you actually divide the publicized number into five, only then do you get the actual number of issued building permits."

Translated by Tzvi Lev