Israeli Agriculture Minister Israel Katz revealed Tuesday plans to expropriate some 31,000 dunams (8,000 Acres) of land to expand Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley.

Katz said he intended to implement the plan ‘without unnecessary delays.’, confirming that he would soon bring it before the ministerial committee on for the development of rural settlement.

The expansion is planned to include 3,200 dunams of land now occupied by the army and 28,000 dunams of grazing land.

Katz explicitly explained that the goal is ‘to hold [the land] and designate it for Jewish settlements in the valley and to prevent the possibility of their being taken over by hostile elements.’

Katz move points to Israeli plans to dictate unilaterally the future of the West bank parallel to the intended Gaza Strip pullout, turning the disengagement plan into a process to unilaterally define the future of the Palestinian territories.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon asked Monday his ministers to undermine any discussion on the road map and emphasis the need for disengagement, considering the later as the only standing political initiative.

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