JERUSALEM (Jul. 9)
About 15 families pitched tents on a patch of land near Bethlehem yesterday and declared a new settlement, Noot Adumim, the second set up on the West Bank within a week without sanction by the appropriate authorities. Additional settlers arrived today.
The site was approved by the World Zionist Organization’s settlement department some two-and-a-half years ago for a settlement to be part of the Etzion bloc. But plans were frozen for lack of funds and it was decided to eventually allow private developers to take over. But West Bank settlers have begun an ad hoc settlement drive and are determined to establish as many new settlements as possible in the Judaea and Samaria regions before the Knesset elections July 23 and regardless of budgetary constraints. An unauthorized settlement was planted on a site near Ramallah last week.
A spokesman for the Etzion Bloc regional council said the unauthorized activity was in fact encouraged by the WZO’s settlement department. But its co-chairman, Matityahu Drobless said on an Army Radio interview today that there was no official approval of the new settlements.