Newly revealed National Archives documents show that the government had decided as early as 1974 that territory on which Ma'aleh Adumim was subsequently built, as well as the E1 area, would be an inseparable part of Jerusalem, Army Radio reported on Wednesday.
On November 24, 1974, the cabinet of former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin reportedly voted to establish an industrial zone in Ma'aleh Adumim, as well as residential areas for the employees.
The government designated 65,000 dunams for the settlement, which was to house more than 10,000 people. Located just east of Jerusalem, the thriving city of Ma'aleh Adumim, with a population of 33,800, is currently the third-largest West Bank settlement.
According to human rights groups Bimkom and B'Tselem, the documents prove that rather than issuing the routine interim requisition orders for the land designated for Ma'aleh Adumim, the Israeli government simply expropriated 32,000 hectares for good.
The documents refute Israeli claims that no Palestinians were harmed by the land expropriation by showing that the establishment of Ma'aleh Adumim led to the deportation of hundreds of Bedouins, B'tselem and Bimkom said. Thousands of residents of nearby villages were forced to relinquish their agricultural plots and their right to their lands were harmed, the groups claimed.
The US as well as the Palestinian Authority have voiced strong opposition to Israeli construction in what is known as the E-1 area, which would complete a circle of Jewish settlements around east Jerusalem, cutting the city off from the West Bank.