Israel approves mega settlements projects

Gush Etzion (Wikimedia)

Middle East Monitor  /  August 17, 2020

Israeli authorities have revealed a mega settlements plan, Arab48 reported yesterday, which will connect major illegal settlement blocs.

The Arabic news site reported Israel’s Ynet News as saying that one of the settlement projects aimed to connect the settlement bloc of Benyamin in occupied Ramallah with the occupied city of Jerusalem.

The largest of these projects is paving a highway between Benyamin Industrial Zone with Atarot Industrial Zone in the north of Jerusalem. The highway includes a 600-metre tunnel that passes through the West Bank cities of Qalandia and Al-Ram.

Ynet News reported that this project was planned in coordination with the Palestinian Authority, claiming that the Palestinians would use it.

At the same time, the Israeli occupation authorities approved a project related to the settlement highway Route 60, which Israeli Jewish settlers from the settlements of Adam, Bsagot, Beit El and Ofra use to reach Jerusalem directly.

The Israeli news website noted that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described this area in the recent years as the fourth Israeli settlement bloc in the occupied West Bank beside Ma’ale Adumim, Gush Etzion and Ariel which were due to be annexed by Israel in early July.

Meanwhile, the Israeli authorities, Arab48 reported, approved the construction of another highway connecting Benyamin settlement bloc with occupied Jerusalem, noting that it starts from the Adam settlement to Hizma military checkpoint in the north-east of Jerusalem.

Another road was approved, the news website said, connecting Gush Etzion with Jerusalem. This plan includes the addition of 560 new settlement units to the settlement of Har Homa.

The decision comes days after Israel and the UAE signed a peace deal that Abu Dhabi said was made to stave off Tel Aviv’s planned annexation of the occupied West Bank.