More Additional Settlements Planned for Golan Heights
Following the failed diplomatic negotiations with Syria, plans for the construction of additional housing units and the implementation of infrastructure repairs in the Golan Heights have been put back on track, a source was quoted by Haaretz newspaper as saying.
"The plans include the construction of some 1,500 housing units in the town of Katzrin, environmental surveys of potential building sites on the slopes of the Golan, and repairs to sewage and water infrastructures," said the source.
"We don't want to annoy anyone," added the source, "but things on the Golan Heights are back to business as usual ... All the restrictions have been removed now."
According to Haaretz, the most striking example of the new reality is the addition of a new neighborhood on 1,500 dunums in the western part of Katzrin. Plans for the expansion of the town have been in the works for quite some time, but were only recently approved by the committee on border issues.
Over the past 20 years, the original master plan for Katzrin has not been changed, added the paper.
"There are no vacant apartments in Katzrin right now," said Sami Barlev, the head of the local council.
"These plans will allow for the continuation of the building."
The plans, which were approved by the local committee, have been passed on to the northern district planning and building committee.
"Barring anything unexpected, such as opposition from the army, the plans will be approved soon," said Yigal Shahar, who oversees the district at the Interior Ministry.
"From a legal standpoint, the Golan is part of Israel, and we have received no instruction to the contrary. The talk of returning the land [to Syria] caused much distress to the residents, and investments were halted. We hope that development will return to the Golan."
A second plan approved by the district committee allows for the construction of 50 additional housing units in the settlement of Kela Alon, Haaretz said.
Prime Minister Ehud Barak's Office has approved environmental surveys in the Golan as preparatory work for the expansion of existing settlements and the construction of some 2,500 residential units in the settlements of Kanaf and Ma'aleh Gamla, among others, said a source.
"There is only one Kinneret," said the source, "and it is important to deal with sewage reservoirs and recycling facilities regardless of the future."
Whoever invests now doesn't know what tomorrow holds. There is much uncertainty, but there is also room for a boom of opportunities, the source told the daily -- Albawaba.com
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