Jewish Settlement in Golan to be Expanded
Israeli officials have given the green light to a plan to construct 350 new homes in a Jewish settlement in the occupied Golan Heights, according to reports, quoted Friday by BBC.online.
Under the plan, three new neighborhoods in the Kela Alon settlement would be constructed, increasing the community's size by ten-fold.
According to a report in Haaretz newspaper, the Regional Council for Planning and Construction in northern Israel approved a detailed blueprint for the expansion of the settlement, in which 19 families currently live, on Thursday.
According to the paper, Kela Alon has still not been officially recognized as a settlement.
Also on Thursday, Israel's housing ministry called for tenders for the construction of another 86 housing units for Jewish settlers on the Golan, according to the French news agency.
AFP says the units will be built in the town of Katzrin, the main settlement in the area.
Some 17,000 Israeli settlers live on the strategic plateau, as well as a similar number of Arabs, mainly Druze.
Peace talks between Syria and Israel broke off in January, and are stalled over the Golan Heights.
Damascus is demanding a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights to the line in force before Israel occupied them in 1967.
This would give Syria control of the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, the main source of fresh water for Israel.
But Israel wants to retain total control of the lake.
In Mid-April, the United Nations' Human Rights Commission adopted a resolution calling on Israel to stop expanding its settlements on the Golan.
The resolution came days after Israel announced it was lifting restrictions on building Jewish settlements on the plateau, said the report – Albawaba.com
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