'The Settlement Floodgates Have Opened'

Radical NGO reports government announced 450 new homes in Judea-Samaria region 'for elections'; PLO calls it a 'war crime.'

Ari Yashar , | updated: 11:17 AM

Israeli flag at construction site in Har Homa
Israeli flag at construction site in Har Homa
Hadas Parush/Flash 90

A radical leftist NGO monitoring Jewish construction in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria announced Friday that the Israeli government had published tenders that day to build 450 new homes in the region.

The plans would have 114 homes built in Adam, 156 in Elkana, 78 in Alfei Menashe and 102 in Kiryat Arba.

"It's the opening of the settlement floodgates," hyperbolized Daniel Seidemann, head of the Terrestrial Jerusalem group, speaking with AFP.

"I don't think it's over. I would be very concerned," he said, adding that this is the first announcement of Jewish construction plans in the region since last October, and opined it will likely not be the last before the March 17 elections, implying that the government was taking the steps to woo right-wing voters.

"This could hardly be an accident," he said. "It could not have taken place without (Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu's knowledge and consent."

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorist group also was quick to chime in.

"What the Israelis announced is part of a wider war...against the Palestinian people," PLO official Wassel Abu Yusef told AFP"This is a war crime which should push the settlements issue to the International Criminal Court."

Despite the talk of floodgates and election posturing, there has been an absolute drought in term of construction in the area due to a covert building freeze implemented by Netanyahu and his coalition, even though there was no express demand or agreement with an external source causing the freeze.

The most recent plans that were announced have been clarified to overwhelmingly be old plans that were shelved, and are now merely being moved up a stage in the approval process.

Speaking last November, Jerusalem deputy mayor Dov Kalmanovich said the recent plans were just "a drop in the bucket" given the city's housing needs.

"The building permit today of dozens of housing units is an affront to Jerusalem and the Israeli government. There are over 700,000 people living in Jerusalem today, and the pace of building needs to be 4,000 a year and not a few hundred," said Kalmanovich.

Jerusalem Councilman Arieh King has warned that between the freeze that has been in effect and Jerusalem's housing projects for Arab residents despite rampant illegal construction that has not been cracked down on, the government is creating a de facto division of the capital.

While there has been opposition to such construction, the 2012 Levy Report definitively proved that Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria is legal under international law.