Israel's Minister of Defence looks set to approve the master plans for the development of four West Bank settlements. Israeli Army radio said that Ehud Barak is going to give the go-ahead for work at Nofim in Samra, Eshkolot south of Hebron, and Rotem and Hemdat in the Jordan Valley. Although all are illegal under international law, the settlements were established with the approval of the Israeli government.
This latest decision on settlement growth has to be looked at in the context of the Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition government seeking to win favour with the settlers' movement. However, once the new development is finished, the sources say that the settlements in question will not be granted permission to expand further.