Israel to keep large West Bank outpost

Israel will hold onto the largest West Bank settlement forever and will build homes to connect it to Jerusalem "at the appropriate time," Vice Premier Ehud Olmert said.

    Olmert said the settlement is a part of Jerusalem

    Israel's current pullout from the Gaza Strip - which is slated to be completed by mid-September - has raised hopes among Palestinians that further land concessions will follow.

    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has said Israel will evacuate some West Bank settlements in a final peace deal, but has insisted that the largest settlement blocs will remain in Israeli hands.

    The United States has repeatedly stated its opposition to settlement construction, which violates an international peace plan known as the "road map." The plan outlines the establishment of a Palestinian state.

    Determination

    Israel's determination to hold onto the settlement of Maaleh Adumim is understood by the US "without a trace of doubt," Olmert told Israel Radio on Thursday.

    "The Americans know this. Everyone understands this. There is no chance that we
    will give up on this"

    Ehud Olmert,
    Israeli Vice Premier

    Israel will build homes between the settlement and Jerusalem to connect the two but has put off the construction until "the appropriate time," Olmert said.

    Israeli media has said that the government has frozen the construction of the 3650 housing units due to US pressure.

    The building is meant to solidify Israel's hold on the area, which is illegal under international law.

    "I can tell you that Maaleh Adumim is an inseparable part of Jerusalem," Olmert told the radio. "The Americans know this. Everyone understands this. There is no chance that we
    will give up on this."

    Israel captured the Gaza Strip, West Bank and east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. The Palestinians hope to establish a state in the territories with east Jerusalem as its capital.

    SOURCE: Unspecified


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    From Zimbabwe to England: A story of war, home and identity

    The country I saw as home, my parents saw as oppressors

    What happens when you reject the identity your parents fought for and embrace that of those they fought against?

    Becoming Ocean: When you and the world are drowning

    Becoming Ocean: When you and the world are drowning

    One woman shares the story of her life with polycystic kidney disease and sees parallels with the plight of the planet.

    The evening death came for me: My journey with PTSD

    The evening death came for me: My journey with PTSD

    On a gorgeous Florida evening, a truck crashed into me. As I lay in intensive care, I learned who had been driving it.