Peace Now: West Bank settlement construction nearly doubled this year + ‘Gush Etzion hilltop must not be handed to PA’

Peace Now: West Bank settlement construction nearly doubled this year

More than 2,600 housing units are under construction in West Bank settlements, including units in more than 1,000 new buildings, Peace Now contends in its semi-annual report.

Basing its conclusions on aerial photographs and field visits, the organization says that slightly more than half of the new structures are going up east of the separation fence, and in several places construction is encroaching on the boundaries of Palestinian towns, such as Ramallah and Bethlehem.

National Bureau of Statistics data shows that construction in settlements jumped from 240 housing units between January and May 2007 to 433 housing units during the same period this year. Housing and Construction Ministry projects account for 64 percent of all building starts cataloged.

Peace Now reports an increase of 550 percent in the number of tenders for construction in the settlements: 417 housing units compared to just 65 in 2007; 125 new buildings at outposts, including 30 permanent structures.

The report also addresses construction over the Green Line within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, an area in which 200,000 Jews now live. East Jerusalem saw an increase in tenders for construction of housing units to 46 this year, from 38 during January-May 2007.

The upshot of its latest report, says Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer, is that “Israel is erasing the Green Line through intensive construction intended to create territorial continuity between settlement blocs and isolated settlements in the heart of the West Bank, with this construction approaching Palestinian cities such as Bethlehem and Ramallah.

Ref: Haaretz

‘Gush Etzion hilltop must not be handed to PA’

A panel of parliamentarians plans to head to the abandoned Shadma army base in Gush Etzion on Wednesday to weigh in on an IDF plan to hand portions of it over to the Palestinian town of Beit Sahur southeast of Bethlehem for a medical center and a park.

The plan has already been hotly opposed by area residents including Gush Etzion Council head Shaul Goldstein and activists who question the wisdom of handing the Palestinians hilltop land that overlooks the new Tekoa road between the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa and the Herodian archeological site.

MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud) told The Jerusalem Post the plan endangered the Jewish presence in the area. He said that along with lawmakers from the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee he planned to tour the area on Wednesday morning to learn more details.

MK Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) wrote a letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak earlier this month in which he said that giving up the land would halt the development of Har Homa, endanger traffic on the Tekoa road and harm the geographical contiguity between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion.

The placement of a Palestinian neighborhood in the area is widely objected to both by senior military experts and by the leaders of Gush Etzion settlements,” Porush wrote.

One of Barak’s assistants said the ministry was indeed weighing a request by the Beit Sahur municipality to use a portion of the Shadma base.

The ministry told Beit Sahur it would consider such a proposal favorably as long as it concerned the outer portion of the base. No decision has been made yet.

Goldstein told the Post he believed that the request by Beit Sahur, which is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, was a ploy to gain control of the high ground.

“If we give it to them, they will shoot at us from there,” he said.

Given that only 4 percent of Gush Etzion was in Israeli hand, why would they need more land? he asked.

In recent months, activists, including Women in Green (Women for Israel’s Tomorrow), have held numerous rallies at the site. Earlier this month the rought 300 protesters there.

Ref: Jpost


We all know that this is a masterminded “LEBENSRAUM” policy.
We also know that annexation, approriaption, colonialisation and
demolishing infrastructure is ILLEGAL. And yet it contiunes as a part
of Israeli colonial banality.

The twistedness of this whole is not understandable for so many that
haven´t been there or who fights to really believe that Israel is all that
good and culture and democracy and victims and bla bla blej. It´s that
naivitiy they use by advancing. Their goal is clear. There rethoric aswell.

“The placement of a Palestinian neighborhood in the area is widely objected”

They are not talking about Israel but about PALESTINIAN LAND! And yet the colonialists are dictating where they should live. Again, the palestinians should be free to
live and move freely in their land. This is not an issue for Israeli “Lebensraum” rightwingers
to decided! And the “security reason” (Israel favourite human rights violation argument) is
ofcourse not valid. It´s the settlers that kill, steal, destory, demolish, beat and harrases. Every reation is NATURAL! And they should NOT be there in the beginning!!! It´s not given to them by God and they are not excused from International Law, Human rights, ethics aso.

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