Israel to Expand Settlement to Isolate Bethlehem

Israeli Daily Newspaper, Haaretz, has revealed that a document submitted by the state to the High Court of Justice last week stated that the Israeli government is considering expanding the settlement of Efrat to isolate Bethlehem from Jerusalem.

Haaretz added, “Israel is conducting a land survey between the settlement of Efrat and the area to its east with an eye toward declaring state land there.”

In 2009, 1,700 dunams (425 acres) of land in the Efrat region were declared state land. Haaretz reported on a plan to build some 2,500 housing units in the area.

The document has also been signed by the Supervisor of Government and Abandoned Property in the West Bank, Yossi Segal, and the defense minister’s aide for settlements, Kobi Eliraz.

Following the state’s response to the Peace Now petition against the settlement expansion, the group said Israel’s plans “would damage Israel and be destructive to the two-state solution.”

It added, “The state’s announcement of the intention to expropriate land to build a road connecting the planned settlement illustrates the true path of the Netanyahu government.”

Israel’s expansion of settlements especially around Jerusalem have drawn international criticism.

Most countries, including the US, support a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israel conflict and believe that such moves risk this solution.

(Palestine Chronicle)

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