Despite the United States objections to the
settlement expansion, Israeli authorities continue the construction in
Ma’ale Adumim settlement east of Jerusalem.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing Israeli vehicles building new roads around
the settlements and lighting them in preparation for further

Knesset Members from ‘Labor’ and ‘Yahad’ took part in a tour organized
by the Israeli peace movement, ‘Peace Now’ around the construction
site.  They remarked that this is clearly preparation for building
a new neighborhood for the settlement that already has 28 thousand

This trip to the settlement follows a ‘strict objection’ transmitted by
the U.S. President George W. Bush, to the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel
Sharon in Bush’s Texas ranch last week.

‘Israel has to dismantle the unauthorized settlements and respect its
commitments to the Road Map, concerning the West Bank Settlements,’
Bush told Sharon.

The Road Map states that all settlement Activity must be frozen, which
makes the construction in Ma’ale Adumim a clear violation to Road Map.

MK Ran Cohen, of Yahad party, said, ‘Minister of Defense, Shaul Mofaz
ensured us that four permits are needed before they can proceed with
the construction,’ and added, ‘these roads they are building are enough
evidence that construction has already started, besides, expanding
Ma’ale Adumim from this side, will cut the territorial contiguity
between the north and the south of the West Bank.’

The construction is focused on the area between Ma’ale Adumim and
Jerusalem.  Israel is trying to link the settlement with Jerusalem.

More construction is being done on the eastern side of the settlement towards the Dead Sea.

Apparently, Ma’ale Adumim settlement will expand to link with Jerusalem
from the west and with the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea from the
east, which will split the West Bank into two parts in that area. 

Palestinian Authority officials voiced concerns over this step saying
this will thwart chances for a viable Palestinian state, another Road
Map commitment.