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Israel approves 40 settler homes near Bethlehem
Published Monday 12/12/2011 (updated) 13/12/2011 14:22
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Palestinian metal collectors work in front of an Israeli settlement near
the West Bank city of Qalqiliya. (MaanImages/Magnus Johansson)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel has approved construction of 40 homes and a farm in two new settler enclaves near the southern West Bank town of Bethlehem, Haaretz daily reported on Monday.

"Israel's military establishment has approved the establishment of a new, permanent neighborhood and a farm near the West Bank settlement of Efrat," the paper said.

"The projects will go beyond the community's current built-up area, constituting an effective expansion of the Etzion bloc of settlements toward the north and northeast," it added.

"With their completion, Jewish settlement in the northern Etzion bloc will reach the edges of Bethlehem's southernmost suburbs."

Plans for the new neighborhood called Givat HaDagan, were approved by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and a tender for construction was issued this week, the paper said, while the farm, Givat Eitam, was approved by the military.

Defense ministry officials could not be reached for comment, but settlement watchdog Peace Now said the project should be seen in the light of Israel's stated intention to annex the Etzion bloc in any future agreement with the Palestinians.

"The building in Efrat is especially sensitive in my opinion, because it is east of the road leading to Bethlehem," the NGO's Hagit Ofran told AFP. "That means that if Israel wants to annex Efrat, it will cut off Bethlehem from the southern West Bank."

Israel has come under renewed international criticism for its surge of settlement activities since a government decision on November 1 to speed up building in response to Palestine joining UNESCO.

More than 310,000 Israelis live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and the number is constantly growing.

Another 200,000 live in a dozen settlement neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in 1967 and annexed in a move never recognized internationally.

The international community considers all settlements in territories occupied by Israel since June 1967 are illegal, whether or not approved by its government.
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1 ) mohamed / somalia
12/12/2011 10:59
so where is the palestinian land?

2 ) Stealing Chrisian, Muslim land / Greece
12/12/2011 11:43
Probably what the U.S. politicians are doing with saying really over-the-top dumb inflamatory racist things recently is to divert attention with all of this destruction of Christian and Muslim lands and livelidhoods in Beit Lahem, Beit Jalla and al Eddis Jerusalem - in the case of the Christian Orthodox and Greek Catholic communities of Palestine which were 20% of the population when England invaded in 1917 (on behalf of the racist project), these are the last significant three towns being stole

3 ) @ #2 / Truth
12/12/2011 17:00
"STEALING" BACK LANDS, that:
- Christians stole during the Crusades, and
- Muslims stole during the Prophet and Saladin Eras
IS NOT STEALING, but instead
IT IS JUSTICE, for the Biblical Jewish lands, of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob,
to be returned to the heirs - TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE !!!!

4 ) EE / UK
12/12/2011 17:56
Palestinians should go to the negotiation table, negotiate, compromise and reach an agreement with Israel. The agreement will set up borders between Israel and future Palestinian state. If they do not negotiate, Israel will use disputed land in West bank to its discretion and nothing will be left for future Palestinian state - because the life did not stop when palestinians quited negotiations. Other words, if palestinians want their state they should harry back to negotiation table.

5 ) Maureen / Australia
12/12/2011 18:23
Two new squatter enclaves in Bethlehem - accommodating the minions of the Synagogue of Satan.

6 ) @ EE #4 / Truth
12/12/2011 21:10
Yes, "Palestinians SHOULD go to the negotiation table, negotiate, compromise and reach an agreement with Israel", BUT they CAN NOT,
will accept now, nor will they ever accept, any of the likely outcomes:
- A Jewish state's right to exist,
- Jerusalem remaining in Israel, and
- Refugees never returning !!!!

7 ) carine / UK
12/12/2011 21:47
#4-EE/UK

The Palestinians recently presented their road map (as requested by the Quartet), but Israel refused to acknowledge it. Same thing happened several years ago, when Nettanyahu forbade his officials to even touch the paper it was written on, so why should Palestinians waste any more time. Let's face it, we all know who really doesn't want to negotiate, don't we??

8 ) carine / UK
12/12/2011 22:13
#3-Truth

Truth is, Truth, civilization has moved on since your Biblical days and many Palestinians were resident in Palestine lo-o-ong before Jewish immigrants were persuaded to emigrate there in the more recent past.
BTW - God didn't give you any land - UK did.

9 ) southparkbear / usa
12/12/2011 23:14
#3 truth, every word is gold. bye gold guys

10 ) mohamed / somalia
13/12/2011 00:22
puppets and slave of zionist.

11 ) Andy / UK
13/12/2011 19:24
@ #2 / Truth (sic) ...which land was stolen from the Canaanites by the Jewish people - as documented in your own scriptures. Stop living in the past and start dealing with the present in a civilised way.
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