Greenhouses in the Jordan Valley
Greenhouses in the Jordan ValleyHagai Huberman

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon has given the green light to a plan to build a new Palestinian Authority Arab city which will take away 2,000 dunams of Israeli land, the Ma’ariv daily reported on Friday.

Two weeks ago, the newspaper reported that the Civil Administration for Judea and Samaria is working diligently on advanced plans for establishing a new PA city near Jericho.

Ma’ariv reported that Nu'aimah, as the city stands to be called, is intended to house tens of thousands of residents and that Israel will transfer close to 2,000 dunam (500 acres) of land from the Jordan Valley Regional Council to the PA for the ambitious project.

Upon learning of the project, Yaalon instructed the Coordinator of Government Activities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza to freeze the projectso he can study the details of the plan and any consequences that may result from its application.

Now that he has studied the plan, reported Ma’ariv, Yaalon has removed his objection to it. A source in the Defense Ministry told the newspaper that “the new city is being built as a residential response for Palestinian and Bedouin populations currently living illegally on state land."

The head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, David Elhayani, warned on Tuesday that Israel would lose the Valley because of the construction of the new Arab city.

“The city will consist of over 1,100 lots, and will have housing for 10,000 people,” he told Arutz Sheva. “In addition, a smaller Arab village is planned for the area.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)