A meeting took place this week in the Herzliya home of U.S. Ambassador to Israel Richard H. Jones. Participating were Defense Minister Amir Peretz, the American consul-general in Jerusalem, and Israeli and PA delegations.

Abdel Malek Jabbar, head of the organization called Palestinian Communication Group, presented the idea of a new city at the meeting. If located between Ramallah and Jericho, as proposed, it would have to be built on Israeli-controlled land.

Land in Judea and Samaria is divided into three categories: Area C under total Israeli control, such as the Jewish communities, army bases, and state-owned lands; Area B, under Israeli military control but Palestinian Authority civilian control, such as areas in and around many Arab villages; and Area A, under full Palestinian Authority control - cities such as Shechem (Nablus), Jericho, Kalkilye, Ramallah, most of Hevron, and more.

There is currently barely any Area B or A between Ramallah and Jericho. What this means, writes Arutz-7 correspondent Haggai Huberman, "is that the PA wishes to steal additional lands from those that are controlled by Israel."

In addition, new Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria is being prohibited by the Israeli government at the behest of the United States.  The Road Map plan forbids both Israel and the Palestinian Authority from "changing the facts on the ground" - which a new PA city would certainly do.

Regarding Israeli construction, in May 2003, the Israeli government resolved that "the implementation of the Road Map plan will take place contingent upon the 14 comments that Israel submitted to the Americans."  Though the government now prefers not to cite this decision, among the reservations was this: <blockquote>"There must be no terrorism during the process. The Palestinians will dismantle the existing security organizations and will form new organizations to combat terror, violence and incitement. Full performance will be a condition for progress between phases and for progress within phases. The first condition for progress will be the complete cessation of terror, violence and incitement. Progress between phases will come only following the full implementation of the preceding phase."</blockquote>

In late 2005, Israel rejected a PA request to build a new city in Area C near Shechem.

Building the city would cost $33 million, according to preliminary estimates, and would be planned for 50,000 residents. Jabbar later said that the American ambassador responded positively to the idea and said he would discuss it with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice when she arrives in Israel next week.