Israel approves hundreds of new West Bank housing units

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli planning committee approved the construction of hundreds of housing units in four West Bank settlements.

The Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee on Wednesday approved construction of 234 living units in Elkana in the northern West Bank, designated to be a nursing home; 30 homes in Beit Arye in the northern West Bank and 20 homes in the Jerusalem ring neighborhood of Givat Zeev.

The committee also retroactively legalized 179 housing units built in the 1980s in Ofarim, part of the Beit Arye municipality.

Plans for housing units in Efrat, Nofim and Har Gilo has been on the agenda but were not discussed at the meeting.

The approval comes less than a week after Nickolay Mladenov, the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, criticized Israel for continuing to build in West Bank settlements and neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem, going against the recommendations of the Mideast Quartet.