by Or Schwartz, JPost
More than 13,000 settlement housing units in the West Bank are ready for construction once the building moratorium ends on September 26th and at least 2,000 are ready for immediate construction, according to a report by Peace Now released on Sunday.
According to the report, 2,066 units in the West Bank have either had construction permits approved or their ground works already laid.Peace Now said that hundreds of additional units, whose foundations have not yet been built, are also ready for construction.
The group reported that at least another 11,000 housing units have had their building plans approved. According to Israeli law, settlers are allowed to construct the units without further approval by the government.
This translates into a total of 13,000 units which are ready for construction in the West Bank, even if the government implements an implicit building freeze and does not approve new construction in the future, without extending the moratorium. Of the 13,000 units, 5,000 are located east of the separation barrier in isolated settlements.
An additional 25,000 units are currently in the planning phase, having been approved in the past but require additional government approval to be valid.
The report comes after Samaria regional council head Gershon Mesika said on Sunday that if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announces an extension to the building freeze, it will be the end of his term in government.
Mesika said that Netanyahu is trying to emulate Sharon, but the nationalist camp will oust him and bring down his government.
Netanyahu said that the freeze may continue partially and some building would be allowed, in a cabinet meeting Sunday morning