The administration of Efrat, an illegal Israeli settlement near Bethlehem, decided to launch a construction project to build a new “neighborhood” which will be added to the settlement by annexing more Palestinian-owned lands. Elly Mizrahi, the mayor of the Efrat settlement will head a “celebration” along with the settlement's chief Rabbi and will place the cornerstone of two new buildings which will include 54 housing units and a park, according to the right-wing Israeli newspaper Makor Reshon.
In 2003, the Israeli government gave its preliminary agreement to this project. There are nearly 4000 settlers living in Efrat and it is considered part of the Gush Ezion settlement bloc, south of Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank, settlers created a new illegal settlement "outpost" composed of four caravans in order to “temporarily” host new settler families after receiving approval from the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
Creation and expansion of settlements on occupied land in the West Bank and Jerusalem is in violation of international law. These activities also are in direct violation of the US-backed "Road Map" Plan which calls for freezing of all settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.