Israeli occupation authorities began a massive settlement project that will annex large parts of four villages surrounding the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, isolating them, the Palestinian Information Centre reported yesterday.
As a result, the villages of Biter, Wadi Fokin, Nahhalin and Hosan west of Bethlehem, home to some 20,000 Palestinians, would be taken over by the occupation.
Israeli engineers and workers, protected by Israeli forces, started numbering and placing signs in the village of Nahhalin in order to start paving a way to connect illegal settlement route 60 which to the illegal settlement of Biter Elite built on Palestinian lands.
This route is planned to be expanded to connect the streets serving the villages of Nahhalin and Hosan in order to serve illegal settlers only . This route is also intended to be expanded to include the streets between the village of Biter and Al-Khader.
Hassan Brijjieh, Palestinian Authority official, said that Israel had announced three plans regarding this project worth 185 million shekels ($2.15 million) and has now begun to carry them out.
The plans including digging a tunnel from Jerusalem to the illegal settlements of Biter Elite and Eli Ezer, constructing a railway parallel to this tunnel that would link the illegal Israeli Jewish settlements to the west of Bethlehem with Tel Aviv and Haifa.
This, he explained, would facilitate increasing the number of settlers in the occupied West Bank.
According to Brijjieh the only obstacle standing in the occupation's way is Al-Walja village which was encircled by the Israeli Separation Wall after all of its residents stood together and filed petitions to the Israeli High Court against the demolition of 30 homes.