The Israeli Regional Construction and Planning Committee approved a new settlement plan that aims at constructing 900 units for Jewish settlers in an area adjacent to Al Walaja Palestinian town in the Bethlehem District. The units will be built close to the Gilo illegal settlement that was built lands that were illegally annexed from the Palestinians. Israel does not regard Gilo as a settlement, but brands it’s as a “Jerusalem neighborhood”.
The new constructions will be built on 228 Dunams (56.34 Acres) that were illegally annexed from their Palestinian owners, and will include 4, 6 and 8-story apartment buildings, advanced roads and infrastructure.
The newly approved plan comes only one day after the so-called Regional Construction Committee approved the construction of 942 units for Jewish settlers south of Gilo settlement.
The two projects complement each other as they will ensure the expansion of Gilo settlement from the south with a total addition of more than 1800 units.
Israel’s policies of settlement construction and expansion were the main reason that pushed the Palestinians to withdraw from the American “supervised” peace talks with Israel.
The Palestinian Authority also decided to leave the negotiations table to protest Israel’s policies against the Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, home demolitions, and ongoing invasions into the occupied territories.
Although the United States repeatedly “urged” Israel to halt its settlement activities in order “to give the peace process a chance to resume”, US financial support to Israel is the main funder of Israel’s settlement construction and expansion.
The United States grants Israel more than $3 Billion a year in direct aid, in addition to $3 Billion in loan guarantees.