PMO: Plans for New Beit El Homes Stand

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office is apparently at odds with the State Attorney's office over his announcement to build 300 new apartments in a Jewish settlement in exchange for demolishing 30, which were allegedly built on Palestinian land.

The State Attorney's Office says the plan to build 300 new apartment homes in Beit El, established in 1977,  is neither realistic nor legally feasible, but the Prime Minister's Office says there's been no change in policy.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the decision to build the new homes in a statement last Wednesday evening, after the Knesset defeated a bill limiting the time in which Palestinian Arabs can claim ownership of land in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

The bill, which called for submitting proof of ownership within four years after construction begins, would have retroactively legalized the 30 apartments in five buildings in Beit El and others in "outpost" communities such as Migron, Amona and G'vat Asaf.

Netanyahu imposed party discipline on coalition ministers forbidding them to support the bill, ensuring its defeat, and later announced his intention to build new homes not only in Beit El but in other communities as well. 

A report from the State Attorney's Office says Beit El is built on land initially used by the IDF, which the government transferred to a Jewish Zionist organization.

In the late 70s, the High Court ruled against turning over land used by the IDF for civilian use. The State Attorney's Office now says the 300 new units in Beit El fall under that ruling and therefore cannot be built.

When asked about the report, a spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office told CBN News "there's been no change in policy; plans to build the 300 new apartment homes in Beit El stand."

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