Israel spits in the 'human rights council's facesettlement policies.' The response was not long in coming.
This evening, Leftist Defense Minister Ehud Barak (who may yet be the ambassador to the United States in a few months) announced the approval of 346 new housing units in Nokdim and Tekoa. Although both towns are part of the Etzion bloc, they also fall outside the 'security fence,' which many believed would be Israel's bottom line position in any permanent status arrangement with the 'Palestinians.' Now, it appears we're going to allow towns and villages outside the fence to build new houses.
The plans for 200 new homes in Tekoa and 146 in Nokdim were pushed forward a few weeks ago, but he and the council only publicized the information on Thursday, he said.
The news broke at the same time that the UN Human Rights Council lifted its embargo on a report condemning Israeli settlement building and calling on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank.
Israel considers Gush Etzion to be a settlement bloc that will remain part of the country in any final-status agreement with the Palestinians for a two-state solution.
But the Nokdim and Tekoa settlements are located in the eastern part of that region, outside the boundaries of the security barrier.Somewhere in Heaven, Yitzchak Shamir (whom the Americans complained would unveil a new 'settlement' every time James Baker came to visit) is cheering.