Israel approves 40 settler homes near Bethlehem

 A Jewish settler walks next to belongings taken out of a makeshift structure that was demolished by Israeli authorities in the West Bank outpost of Oz Zion, near Ramallah November 7, 2011. REUTERS photo Israel has approved construction of 40 homes and a farm in two new settler enclaves near the southern West Bank town of Bethlehem, Haaretz daily reported on Monday.

“Israel’s military establishment has approved the establishment of a new, permanent neighbourhood and a farm near the West Bank settlement of Efrat,” the paper said.

“The projects will go beyond the community’s current built-up area, constituting an effective expansion of the Etzion bloc of settlements toward the north and northeast,” it added. “With their completion, Jewish settlement in the northern Etzion bloc will reach the edges of Bethlehem’s southernmost suburbs.” Plans for the new neighbourhood called Givat HaDagan, were approved by Defence Minister Ehud Barak and a tender for construction was issued this week, the paper said, while the farm, Givat Eitam, was approved by the military.

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