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Israel Expands Housing in West Bank

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Issue: 27 Section: International News Geography: Middle East Israel, Palestine

March 31, 2005

Israel Expands Housing in West Bank

Last month, the Israeli government announced plans to construct another 3,500 new housing units in the West Bank's largest Jewish settlement.

The plan goes against provisions in the Roadmap for Peace under which Israel agreed to freeze all settlement activity.

The area selected for settlement, as one Washington Post report explains, is a strategic area representing the "last stretch of empty land between East Jerusalem and the West Bank." The construction of housing units on the land will "seal off" East Jerusalem from the other Palestinian territories.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat fears that this move will weaken the Palestinian negotiating position over Jerusalem. "They [the Israelis] want to determine the fate of Jerusalem before the negotiations on Jerusalem begin."

According to Am Johal, this recent Israeli move is not an isolated incident. Johal notes that the number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank has increased from 105,000 in 1992 to 236,000 at present.

"The peace process certainly has not been kind to the Palestinians," Johal writes in ZNet magazine. "Last year alone, 4,000 housing units were constructed during the US led the Roadmap to Peace."

» Washington PostU.S. Envoy Presses Sharon on West Bank

» ZNet: What Will Be the Sharon Legacy?

» New York Times: Israel to Build New Housing in West Bank Settlement

» Resist.ca: Israel to Build 3,500 New Houses in West Bank

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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