As part of a package of “good will gestures” Israel is planning to make to the Palestinian Authority in advance of Joe Biden’s state visit, the Israeli government announced that it will approve 6 masterplans for Palestinian settlements in Judea and Samaria.

The package will include approval of hundreds of existing illegal structures, alongside territorial expansion of Muslim settlements consisting of thousands of dunams. The Muslim settlement of Batir, located between Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood and Gush Etzion, will be granted a permit for no less than 518 illegal structures as well as expansion of the village by some 3,000 dunams – an area comparable in size to the city of Ariel. The plan will effectively cut off Gush Etzion from Jerusalem and severely compromise the security of the Gush Etzion-Jerusalem Tunnel Road.

Another plan, in Eastern Gush Etzion, will approve the expansion of Kisan by 615 dunams, severely limiting access for Jewish communities of eastern Gush Etzion and any possibility for future growth. Similar plans for the village of Pakiks will cut off the Jewish community of Negohot in the South Hebron Hills area.

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