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New Settlement Plan Presented

The Ministerial Settlement Committee will review in the near future a new plan to establish six new towns in Judaea and Samaria. The plan was introduced yesterday before the committee by the Defense Ministry.

According to the new plan, the towns will actually be a “thickening” of existing settlements in Maale Adumim, just east of Jerusalem; Gush Etzion, just south of Jerusalem; Nabi Salah, north of Jerusalem; Givon, north of Jerusalem; and Timnat Hares and Kamei Shomron in Samaria. The first four would form a belt protecting Jerusalem from three sides.

The idea behind the plan is to concentrate the settlement effort in six large sites rather than spreading it over a large number of smaller settlements. The plan seems to contradict plans presented in the past by Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon who is an enthusiastic supporter of a massive sentiment drive. But Sharon’s associates were quoted today as saying that the Defense Ministry planes only a part of an overall settlement plan.