Israel plans road construction in West Bank


(JTA) — The Israeli government has drawn up plans for some 185 miles of roads in the West Bank, largely for the benefit of Jewish settlers.

The 44 proposed roads would connect Jewish settlements to each other and nearby Israeli cities, and their construction would require expropriating more than 6,000 acres of land, according to a report by Israel’s i24 News. Twenty-four roads already have been authorized; the rest are pending approval.

A spokesman for the Israeli Defense Ministry told Army Radio that the plan would be implemented “over many years and most of it is not to be realized now,” i24 News reported.

The issue of West Bank construction has been a contentious one in Israel’s governing coalition. Leaders of the Jewish Home party have accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of implementing a “quiet freeze” on settlement construction and threatened to shake up the coalition if he does not accede.

Meanwhile, Economics Minister Yair Lapid has refused to budget for infrastructure building in the West Bank, arguing that Israel should focus its funding on needs within Jerusalem and its pre-1967 borders.

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