A US delegation headed by a senior naval officer has made a secret visit to the so-called E1 area between Jerusalem and the Ma'ale Adumim settlement bloc in the occupied West Bank. The members of the delegation are studying the impact of proposed highly-controversial Israeli construction projects on the territorial contiguity of any future Palestinian state, claim Israeli media reports.
The delegation met Israel's Coordinator of Government Activities in the [occupied Palestinian] Territories, Major General Eitan Dangot during the visit, which comes prior to another trip to the Middle East by John Kerry. The US Secretary of State is scheduled to visit Jordan and Israel later this week.
At the end of 2012, Israel's Civil Administration approved plans to build 3,200 settlement units in E1 and occupied East Jerusalem. The Israeli-run Jerusalem municipality is also looking at a plan to construct a new road linking East Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim to establish a land bridge between the settlements in the Holy City and the settlement bloc which was declared to be a "city" by Israel in 1991. Palestinians have expressed their concerns that the proposals are intended to prevent the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state.
All of Israel's settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are regarded as illegal by international law. Israel flouts international laws and conventions on a regular basis with apparent impunity.