World Zionist organization designs plans tp ‘balance demographics’ in Galilee region 2Dec13 December 2, 2013

settlements_new_111_copy_copy_copy_1_340_220PNN   -   2 December 2013

The World Zionist Organization’s Settlement Division proposed a plan to establish new Jewish towns and expand rural communities in the central Galilee, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported Tuesday.  The plan’s intention is to “achieve demographic balance with the area’s Arabs” according to the report.

According to a letter from the Settlement Division to Israeli planning firms, the plan’s objective is to bring 100,000 Jewish residents to the Galilee by offering houses that “will attract a stable Jewish population and create a meaningful demographic balance.” The plan emphasized the construction of single-family homes instead of apartment buildings.

The Haaretz also said that the plan calls for the expansion of existing rural communities “beyond what the national master plan allows,” without indicating exactly what that means.

Chariman of the Tur’an Local Council, Imad Dahla, expressed his reasons for opposing the plan, explaining that one of the planned communities, Shibolet, would be constructed directly north of Tur’an, a predominantly Palestinian city in the northern 1948 occupied territories, preventing its future expansion.

Dahla explained, “To the east of us is a quarry that ruins our quality of life, to the north is the plan for Shibolet, to the west is a nature reserve and to the south they are laying a gas pipeline that blocks our economic development.”  He added that the WZO’s letter had defined the plan as “an expression of Israeli sovereignty,” which Dahla said was a “racist expression,” according to Haaretz.

Salah Suleiman, chairman of the Bu’eine-Nujeidat Local Council, a town that would also be affected by Shibolet, said that the Israeli authorities should also invest in adjacent Palestinian communities. “Our situation is very bad,” Suleiman said. “I’m not against development, but there should be development for everyone.”

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