Sites and Insights: Jericho, city of palms .
The Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria has deposited a plan for a large
project of 1,140 Palestinian homes on Israeli state land in Area C of the West
Bank near the city of Jericho.
The project, on 1,800 dunams of land,
would provide a legal housing solution for Palestinians in that area living in
illegal homes and unauthorized villages that are not properly connected to
utilities, according to the civil administration.
It added that the plan
was done “with the understanding” of the heads of the Palestinian villages and
that the Palestinian Authority had also been involved in the
Israel has been under increased international pressure to allow
for Palestinian development of Area C of the West Bank, which is under full
Israeli military and civil control.
News that the plans have been
deposited comes amidst a renewed United States effort to rekindle the peace
process, which has been largely frozen since December 2008.
Monday slammed the plan, which they warned was simply the first phase of
transferring the 1,800 dunams to Area A of the West Bank, which is under the
control of the Palestinian Authority.
Yigal Delmonti, a spokesman for the
Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, said that it
was particularly upsetting to hear that the civil administration was planning to
build Palestinian homes exactly at a time when tenders for building in the
settlements had quietly been frozen.
“It’s the theater of the absurd,”
said the council in a statement it released to the media.
advancing plans to build thousands of Palestinian homes in Area C, when land
exists for the homes in Areas A and B [of the West Bank], while at the same time
they are stopping building tenders for Israeli settlements,” the council
Settlers said they did not even know that such a plan existed until
10 days ago, when a civil administration official informed the Jordan Valley
Regional Council of the plan, because it is slated for land under the council’s
“They did it like thieves, in the middle of the night,”
Jordan Valley Regional Council head David Lahiani told The Jerusalem
“They kept it secret from us for over a year, which is a very
serious problem,” said Lahiani.
He added that, based on the plans he had
seen, the civil administration appeared to be building a new Palestinian
Settler leaders aired objections to the plan when they met last
week with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who said he would look into the matter
but never got back to them, Lahiani said.
Ma’aleh Adumim Mayor Benny
Kashriel said he was never even given a courtesy notification, although his city
is located nearby and would be impacted.
The civil administration has
deposited the plans for the Palestinian homes before the Higher Planning Council
of Judea and Samaria. The civil administration must now publish notification of
the plans in the newspapers, in which it sets a 60-day period for objections to
be filed. The higher planning council can approve the plans only after the
objections have been dealt with.
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