Israeli media sources reported on Wednesday that the Israeli government is planning to construct nearly 2000 units in Israeli settlements located in the West Bank during 2008.
The Israeli daily newspaper Yediot Aharonot said that the Israeli government will construct 1908 new houses in major settlements block in the West Bank that will be annexed to Israeli under a final peace deal between the Palestinians and Israel.
The Newspaper added that among those settlements that will be expanded are Ma'ali Adomim, in the central West Bank, and Ariel, located in the northern West Bank. This newly announced settlement expansion is the largest since the wave of Israeli settlement activity in the 1990s when Israel constructed 5000 housing units per year un West Bank settlements. The Israeli Peace Now movement issued a report recently stating that the Israeli government has increased settlement activity after the one day American sponsored Annapolis conference last November.
At Annapolis, Palestinians and Israelis agreed to resume talks based on the Road Map peace plan which the U.S president Bush put forward in 2003. The Road Map plan, which Israel agreed to, states that Israel should freeze all settlement activity in the West Bank.
Also on Wednesday, the Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu Al-Ghit criticized the Israeli settlement activity. He told reporters at a press conference that the settlement activity in the West Bank and the occupied city of Jerusalem is damaging to the peace process. The Egyptian official welcomed the recent UN decision of considering the Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem as a violation of international law. Abu Al-Ghit demanded that more pressure be but on Israel by the international community, and especially the U.S, to stop the confiscation of Palestinian land for settlement activity. He added that if settlement activity continues the choice of the two state solution will be impossible to accomplish.