Israel planning mass expansion of West Bank settlement bloc
Despite the state's formal commitment not to expand West Bank settlements, a government agency has been promoting plans over the past two years to construct thousands of housing units east of the Green Line, Haaretz has learned.
The plans, which have not yet been approved by the government, were drawn up by the Civil Administration, the government agency responsible for nonmilitary matters in the West Bank. Details of the plans appear in the minutes of the agency's environmental subcommittee, which were obtained by the B'Tselem organization under the Freedom of Information Act.
The plans propose the initial construction of 550 apartments in Gva'ot, located near Alon Shvut in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, followed by construction of another 4,450 units at a later stage. At present, Gva'ot is inhabited by 12 families. The neighboring settlement of Bat Ayin, which has about 120 families, is slated to receive another 2,000 apartments, according to the plans.
Rimonim will get another 254 apartments if the plans are approved, and expansion plans are also in the works for Einav and Mevo Dotan. All three of these settlements are east of the separation fence. Read on.