Israel green lights new construction in Hebron


JERUSALEM — An Israeli planning committee has approved the construction of an apartment complex in a Jewish neighborhood of Hebron, a mostly Palestinian city in Judea that’s been a flashpoint in attacks against Jews, including a massacre of 67 Jews in 1929.

The approval oby the Civil Administration’s Subcommittee for Licensing is the first for new Jewish housing in the city since 2002 when 10 units were approved.

In Hebron, an estimated 500 Jews live among 40,000 Palestinians. The new housing will be constructed in the Beit Romano neighborhood, one of four Jewish neighborhoods in the city.

Hebron’s Palestinian municipality is expected to appeal the decision and claim ownership of the land.

Under the Hebron Protocol signed by Prime Minister Netanyahu and PLO Chairman Arafat in January 1997, the city was divided into two sections. H1 includes 80 percent of the city and lies under full Palestinian control. The apartments would be built in H2, which is under Israeli military control.

The subcommittee, a Defense Ministry panel that oversees construction activity in the West Bank, is set to approve hundreds more housing units throughout Judea and Samaria during meetings scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.