Haaretz: “Israeli settlements in the West Bank legally expanded by nearly 8,000 dunams (1,977 acres) in 2012 – land equalling [an area]… twice as big as Manhattan’s Central Park.”
See original article here.
According to the newspaper “Haaretz”, the so-called “command center” in the Israeli occupation army has worked to increase the areas covered by settlements in the West Bank by almost 8,000 dunams (1977 acres) during the last year. According to the newspaper, these lands are classed as “state land” and the programme was located under the management of the so-called “civil administration”. The newspaper also pointed out that the decision to make a change in the areas of influence of the settlements was made by the commander of the military command center.
According to Haaretz “legally controlled land grew from 530,931 to 538,303 dunams over the course of the year, a total increase of 7,372 dunams”. This is clearly shown in the comparison of the Civil Administration maps of settlements for 2011 and 2012 and proves that the process of annexation is still on-going.
The newspaper added that the increase in the area of ââzones of influence of the settlements happens in two ways: creation of new areas and adjustments to existing areas. Note that an increase in areas of influence of settlements paves the way for the provision of new building maps for the expansion of existing settlements.
To take one of many examples, within these settlements is “Ofra”; built partly on territory purchased from Palestinians and partly on land confiscated and seized by settlers. The settlement occupies 332 dunams of land and the road providing access to the settlement passes through private Palestinian land – this, however, is ignored. Israel is currently working on the licensing to build further residential units in this area, however, construction for about a hundred housing units has already commenced – without a license.