Israel gives go-ahead for access road to new Palestinian city
The Israeli government's department responsible for conducting civilian affairs in Palestinian National Authority (PNA) areas, has given its assent for paving a major road to a new Palestinian city, Rawabi, under construction north of Ramallah, Xinhua reported.
The Civil Administration signed off on what is being viewed as a goodwill gesture by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu government, prior to his visit to the United States this weekend, according to the Ha'aretz daily.
Rawabi is a planned bedroom community meant to house some 25, 000 residents, on a more than six-million-square-meter site, nine kilometers north of Ramallah, the current seat of the PNA's West Bank governance.
The original plan had called for the road to pass through "Area C," which is under full Israeli military and civilian control.
However, officials acceded to a PNA request to change the route in question to run through "Area A" - under full Palestinian civilian and security control, and "Area B," which is under PNA civilian control - in order to avert opposition by settler groups, and Netanyahu's right flank.
The Israel Defense Forces agreed to the changes, which would call the road "temporary" - a loophole that would allows the project to be implemented, despite objections likely to be raised at a meeting on Thursday by the Judea and Samaria (West Bank) planning council.
The clause, however, was worded to bar Jewish landowners from paving their own roads in the West Bank, the report said.