Israel approves five new settlements in Naqab region


Israeli occupation authorities today approved the construction of five new settlements in the Al-Naqab desert, according to Israeli reports. The resolution, proposed by Israeli Minister of Interior Ayelet Shaked, gives the World Zionist Organisation's Settlement Division the power to recruit residents to move to the new settlements. There are almost 300,000 Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship and who live in dozens of villages in the Negev. Some 100,000 of them live in unrecognised villages and are denied any infrastructure or support from the government. There are no means of transportation, no roads, no schools, and Israeli authorities don't collaborate with local leadership. Last week, Zeev Elkin, the housing minister, announced that the Jewish National Fund (JNF) will resume a controversial forestation plan in the Negev in close proximity to Palestinian towns. In December and January, hundreds of Palestinians protested against the JNF forestation plan, which they claim is a pretext to push them out from their lands to make way for new Jewish towns. The plan was temporarily put on hold.