TEL AVIV, August 15, 2016 (WAFA) – The Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank has promised to advance a “strategic plan” to develop the South Hebron Hills region, according to a report by the Israeli daily Haaretz.
According to Haaretz, the Civil Administration plan calls for two industrial centers in the area – one, earmarked for shops, near the settlement of Tene Omarim, and the second, for “logistical needs,” near the Palestinian town of Tarqumiya.
The area already has one industrial center, near the settlement of Otniel. According to the plan, the new industrial centers will serve both settlers and Palestinians, as well as nearby towns within Israel.
The medical center, to be built near the settlement of Adorayim, would also serve both Israelis and Palestinians.
Israeli settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including in East Jerusalem, are illegal under international law.
A 2013 United Nations report said the Israeli government persists in building settlements in occupied territories claimed by Palestinians for a future state, including east Jerusalem and the West Bank, “despite all the pertinent United Nations resolutions declaring that the existence of the settlements is illegal and calling for their cessation,” the report said.
The settlements are “a mesh of construction and infrastructure leading to a creeping annexation that prevents the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian State and undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination,” the report concludes.
More than 500,000 Israelis already live in settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Palestinians’ hoped-for capital. Israel annexed east Jerusalem, with its Palestinian population, immediately after capturing the territory from Jordan in 1967 and has built housing developments for Jews there, but the annexation has not been internationally recognized.