Just days before the “direct negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are officially launched in Washington, a PA official complained Monday that Israel has begun to “expand” two Jewish communities in Samaria.
The PA-run news agency Wafa quoted Ghassan Daghlas, who is in charge of the “Jewish settlements in the northern West Bank” portfolio at the PA, as saying that expansion has begun at Elon Moreh and Givat Gilad. The communities' offices were not available for a response regarding the allegations that they were violating the government's freeze on Jewish construction.
"We saw the Israeli authorities allowing five caravans into the settlement of Elon Moreh," said Daghlas, and added that similar expansion has taken place at Givat Gilad. Both communities are in Samaria, in the heart of the Land of Israel.
Samaria and its neighbor to the south, Judea, make up what many refer to as “the West Bank” – so-called because it adjoins the western bank of the Jordan River. For 19 years, from 1948 to 1967, Judea and Samaria were under Jordanian occupation. Since most of Jordan adjoins the eastern bank of the Jordan, Judea and Samaria were distinguished from it by the term "West Bank."
In Israel, Likud governments since the one headed by Menachem Begin refer to the region, which is Israel's Biblical heartland, as Judea and Samaria (Yehuda v'Shomron, in Hebrew), and so do nationalists and centrists in general. Left-leaning politicians and individuals still use the term "West Bank."