A $0.31 billion fund was approved by the Israeli authorities, to launch several major projects that will link all illegal Jewish-only settlements in occupied East Jerusalem to the western part of the city, Arab48 reported today.
According to Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality financial committee, the authorities plan to advance the infrastructure, high roads and the expansion of the light railway to connect the settlements in East Jerusalem with the western neighbourhoods of the city.
According to the Israeli website Kol Hair, almost $6.8 million will be allocated to develop the light train to connect the Ramot settlement to Gilo, another settlement near the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, south of the occupied West Bank.
Moreover, almost $29.1 million will be spent on developing the light train within the urban areas of Jerusalem and a further $6.5 million to expand the streets of the Gilo and connect it to the highway, known as Begin Road, which leads from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.
Another $5.1 million will be spent to expand a road in the northern Jerusalem neighbourhood of Beit Hanina in order to ease the traffic for Israeli settlers travelling to Pisgat Zeev and Neve Yaakov settlements in the eastern part of Jerusalem.
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All these road projects will require building, water, sewage networks and underground tanks for irrigation, Kol Hair reported. This could be further land grabs of Palestinian private land.
Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war. The territories are now home to more than 700,000 Jewish settlers living in 164 settlements and 116 outposts. Under international law, all Jewish settlements and outposts in the occupied territories are illegal.
Palestinians, along with most of the international community, consider settlements to be a major obstacle to peace. middleastmonitor