Israel Plans Settlement Expansion, Defying U.S.


JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel has begun work on a major expansion of its biggest West Bank settlement in a move certain to draw concern from a visiting White House envoy on Thursday, officials said.

New construction would link Maale Adumim to Jerusalem and could cut Palestinians off from the city they seek to share as the capital of a future independent state. It would flout a U.S.-backed "road map" for peace.

News of the project drew fury from Palestinians, who suspect Israel will strengthen its hold on big chunks of the West Bank while trying to distract attention with a plan to uproot smaller settlements in the occupied Gaza Strip next year.

Political sources said Sharon recently put into action a decade-old plan to develop 3,750 acres of West Bank land linking Maale Adumim to Jerusalem. Some roads had already been marked out and sewage pipes laid, they said.

The latest storm over Maale Adumim followed revelations this week that Sharon had approved 600 new housing units for the suburban-style settlement. The details of the new expansion looked much bigger.

Maale Adumim's mayor said house building in the new area could begin in mid-2005, just as Sharon is due to begin removal of Gaza Strip settlements under a plan to "disengage" from almost four years of conflict with the Palestinians.
It's just never going to end is it? :cry:
Not while it's led by the lunatics. The best chance they had got assassinated just when it seemed that they might have a chance
The Israelis have always and will always do what they want until someone stops them. :twisted: The US will do nothing, it is an election year. :evil: And to sanction Israel is a difficult choice if you have no backbone. :)

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