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Israel approves housing settlement on road joining Palestine, names it 'Obama' - report

The Israeli government approves a plan to rename a housing settlement planned for a road joining Gaza and the West Bank.

Work continues at a construction site in Ma'ale Adumim, where one Jewish settlement is to be named 'Obama'.
Work continues at a construction site in Ma'ale Adumim, where one Jewish settlement is to be named 'Obama'.
Image: Sebastian Scheiner/AP

THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT has reportedly approved a proposal to name a controversial new housing settlement, planned to be built along a main road connecting the Gaza and West Bank regions of Palestine, after US president Barack Obama.

The proposed development at Ma’ale Adumim, about seven miles east of Jerusalem, is part of the long-term Israeli proposal to build a ‘united Jerusalem’ as outlined by former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in one of his last speeches before his 1995 assassination.

Ma’ale Adumim stands inside the West Bank, and lies along Highway 1 – the main road between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which continues into the West Bank and forms the genesis of the main route to the other Palestinian territory of Gaza.

Egypt’s Ahram Online reports that the Israeli government has now approved a plan to name a new settlement within Ma’ale Adumim, approved within the last month, ‘Obama’.

The move is an apparent “gesture of deep gratitude” of Obama’s speech to the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Bulldozers moved into the area to clear the way for construction of the settlement within a day of Obama’s speech, the report says.

The report, citing Israeli radio broadcasts, also suggests that a consequence of the construction would mean that the Highway 1 route between the West Bank and Gaza would be essentially sealed off – severely limiting road access between the two Palestinian territories.

The White House has not issued comment on whether the US president approves of his name being attached to the project, although it is likely to be met with some distain – with the President having last month called for the borders between Israel and Palestine to revert to their 1967 status and underlining calls for the creation of a full Palestinian state.

The construction of Israeli settlements within Palestinian territory is considered illegal by the UN’s International Court of Justice.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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