Israel to built new Jordan Valley settlement

Monday, May 18, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Israel's Army Radio reported on Monday that a new official Jewish settlement will soon be built in Jordan Valley for the first time in 26 years.

A tender for the construction of 20 residential units in the settlement of Maskiot was recently issued following years of political and legal battles.

Former Defense Minister Amir Peretz of the left-wing Labor Party first proposed the establishment of Maskiot in 2005 as a new home for many of the Jews evicted from the Gaza Strip.

Peretz's plan was cancelled amid harsh criticism from Washington, but was picked up again last year by the Olmert government, and accelerated following the recent election of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Nearly all of Israel's political parties - excluding a few radical left-wing factions and the Arab parties - agree that under any peace agreement with the Palestinians, Israel must retain control of the Jordan Valley.

Jordan Valley Regional Council head David Elhayani said the best way to ensure Israel stays in the area is to built more communities.

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