Ministry Mulls Judean Expansion

Interior Ministry recommends annexation of Jewish community Keidar to Maaleh Adumim.

Avraham Zuroff,

Maaleh Adumim
Maaleh Adumim
Israel News Photo: (file)

A special committee of the Interior Ministry has recommended the annexation of the Yesha [Judea and Samaria] community of Keidar to Maaleh Adumim, a city three kilometers away. The annexation would add another 12,000 dunam (nearly 3,000 acres) to the municipality.

The Interior Ministry decided to make its recommendations in a recent report, despite U.S. objections to Jewish settling within Judea and Samaria. Keidar’s 800 residents would receive most of its municipal benefits from the neighboring Maaleh Adumim, located 7 km (4.5 miles) east of Jerusalem, on the edge of the Judean desert.

The High Court is currently deliberating where to place the security barrier in the Maaleh Adumim region. The Court will have to consider the Ministry’s new recommendations.

The Interior Ministry report calls for the annexation of additional land to Maaleh Adumim, along with plans to build another 6,000 housing units. However, Ministry officials stated Sunday that the recommendations require approval by Interior Minister Eli Yishai. The Ministry regards the decision’s political ramifications as “minor, if at all.”

In response, Peace Now secretary-general Yariv Oppenheimer stated that the Ministry decision has important political ramifications. “The government is attempting to use the term ‘settlements blocs’ in order to annex isolated settlements like Keidar to the State of Israel’s territory, and move the separation fence routes along the way,” Oppenheimer stated. “According to this logic, [the Arab-populated city of] Ramallah will soon be able to be annexed with the assertion that it is a neighborhood within Maaleh Adumim.”

Maaleh Adumim’s mayor, Benny Kashriel, rejects Oppenheimer’s claims. “According to the decision of the Sharon and Olmert government, Keidar is within the fence,” he responded. “The attempt by people from the leftwing to remove it from the fence is against all understandings between Israel and the Americans in the Road Map agreement."

The Jerusalem suburb of Maaleh Adumim is mentioned in the Book of Joshua 15:7: “The boundary [of the tribe of Judah] ascended from the Valley of Achor to Debir and turned north to Gilgal, facing Maaleh [Ascent of] Adumim which is south of the wadi.” Maaleh Adumim, literally “red heights,” takes its name from the red rock lining the ascent from the Dead Sea, and from the Biblical Edomite nation.
 





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