Israel’s government has renewed planning for a controversial settlement in the occupied West Bank only a year after it was forced to suspend its expansion, according to Israeli activists.
A report published Monday by Israeli NGO Peace Now, based on government documents obtained through freedom-of-information laws, claimed the Ministry of Construction and Housing secretly hired architects for the project, without going to public tender.
The plans are for more than 8,000 homes in the E1 area of the occupied West Bank, near the large Ma’ale Adumim settlement near Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to cancel tenders for the planned settlement expansion in 2014 under international pressure because it is seen as detrimental to a future Palestinian state.
According to the report: “It is the main potential land for the development of the Palestinian metropolis between Ramallah and Bethlehem, which will be also connected to East Jerusalem.”
“[An] Israeli settlement in E1 will cut the West Bank in half and prevent territorial contiguity of a future Palestinian state,” the report adds.
According to Peace Now, the housing ministry plans to cover the building of 55,000 new homes, including the creation of two new settlements near Bethlehem and in the Jordan Valley.
At the time of publication, the ministry had not responded to Anadolu Agency‘s request for its comment on the report.
Source Ma’an News Agency