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A Palestinian gestures as he helps carry the body of Odai Al Darawish during his funeral in the West Bank town of Dura, near Hebron, yesterday. Israeli troops shot dead Al Darawish, who was trying to cross a security barrier to enter Israel from the occupied West Bank on Saturday.
JERUSALEM: Israel’s defence ministry has published plans for 170 new housing units and another 84 guest rooms in the West Bank settlement of Rotem in the Jordan Valley, anti-settlement activists said yesterday.
The settlement itself previously received government approval, but no building plan was set out, according to Hagit Ofran of the Peace Now organisation.
“Last week it was deposited for public review. It is talking about 200 units, 30 of them are already built. In addition, another 84 units are proposed for guest rooms,” she said. “It will be deposited for 60 days for the public to file objections. After all objections are collected and heard, the planning committee will decide whether to approve or refuse the plan. Usually they approve it.”
The Israeli government has moved forward aggressively in recent weeks with settlement construction plans in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, prompting angry condemnation from the Palestinians, and international criticism. Israel says settlements are an issue to be discussed during negotiations, but the Palestinians say they will not hold peace talks while the Jewish state builds on land they want for their future state.
The international community considers Israeli settlements built in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, to be illegal under international law.
Meanwhile, Israel swung into action against a group of Palestinian activists who established a tent village on a rocky hillside east of Jerusalem, with hundreds of security officials carrying out an eviction under the orders of the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the early hours yesterday. According to activists, a large military force surrounded the encampment at around 3am. All protesters were arrested and six were injured, said Abir Kopty. On Saturday evening, Netanyahu demanded the Israeli supreme court overturn an injunction preventing the removal of the protesters, and ordered the area to be declared a closed military zone.