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Israel revisits Qalqilya expansion plan

Image of an Israeli military bulldozer demolishing a Palestinian home in Qalqilya, West Bank [Apaimages]
Israeli military bulldozer demolishing a Palestinian home in Qalqilya, West Bank [Apaimages]

Israel’s Channel 2 said the Israeli government will reconsider a previous decision to allow the expansion of the occupied Palestinian city of Qalqilya in the north of the West Bank.

The plan would see 14,000 new apartments built on 2,500 dunams (2.5 square kilometres) in Israeli-controlled Area C surrounding the city and would potentially double the city’s population from 50,000 to 110,000.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said the plan was proposed during the visit of US President Donald Trump to the region in May.

Read: Israel to approve 2,500 new settlement units in occupied West Bank

Qalqilya, which is surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements, is overcrowded.

Channel 2 reported that the plan has stirred widespread controversy in Tel Aviv, especially among settlers who claimed it would “harm the settlers’ quality of life and security”.

The area owned by the people of Qalqilya is classified as Area C under the Oslo agreement signed between Israel and the PLO in 1992. Under this classification, the land is under Israeli security and administrative control.

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