Hevron’s Jewish community is poised to receive a green light for new construction projects, officials say, ending a de facto 11 year freeze on the building of new housing for Jews in the ancient city.
The Defense Ministry, which must grant approval for expansions in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, has already given the proposed housing project its blessing.
On the bureaucratic front, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) issued a statement revealing that the government was “examining” the possibility of “returning some of the land for civilian use,” referring to an army outpost inside the city of Hevron.
While officials have said that the new housing project is fairly limited in scope, Haaretz reported on Monday, left-wing NGOs are up in arms over the plan.
“The settlement in Hebron is the most extreme and callous of all,” said Hagit Ofran of the Peace Now organization. “[T]he Netanyahu government is trampling legal standards to build a settlement exactly where the occupation and separation are the most callous and severe.”
Defense Ministry officials stressed, however, that the land set aside for the project was owned and inhabited by Jews decades before the establishment of the State of Israel.
If it survives the long approval process, the project will be the first for Jews in the city since an apartment complex was inaugurated in April, 2005 in the neighborhood of Tel Rumeida.