Israeli Cabinet approves new settlement policy

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Israel last night agreed a new policy on settlement construction, including a new settlement for the evacuated residents of Amona.

Although no final deal has been reached with the US, the Israeli Government plans to adopt a policy of restrained settlement construction. Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly told his cabinet that this is a very friendly administration and its requests need to be taken into consideration.

This new policy involves limiting settlement construction to existing built up areas and refusing permission for the establishment of new unauthorised settlement outposts.

Channel 10 News believes that quiet understandings have been reached with the US not to restrict construction in Jerusalem but to restrict construction in settlements beyond the “Green Line”. Israel apparently agreed to avoid unilateral measures such as annexing settlements or declaring Israeli sovereignty over West Bank land.

The security cabinet unanimously approved the construction of a new settlement for the Amona evictees in the Emek Shilo area south of Nablus. This will be the first new legal settlement in over 20 years. During the consultations with the US, Netanyahu made clear that he had a personal commitment to the Amona residents, and that he intended to honour it.