Israel approves 2 new settlements and development plan for occupied Golan Heights – Xinhua

Israeli soldiers participate in an exercise in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on October 26, 2021. (Photo by Ayal Margolin / JINI via Xinhua)

JERUSALEM, Dec.26 (Xinhua) – Israel on Sunday announced a multi-million dollar plan to develop the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, including the creation of two new settlements.

At a special cabinet meeting in the Golan Heights, ministers approved a plan to strengthen Israeli settlements in the territory of Syrian origin, according to a statement issued by the office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

An Israeli soldier stands guard at the Quneitra crossing between Syria’s Quneitra and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, March 1, 2021. (Ayal Margolin / JINI via Xinhua)

As part of the plan, two new settlements, Asif and Matar, will be established in the disputed territory, each with around 2,000 new housing units.

The ministers also decided to allocate NIS 576 million (about $ 183 million) to build 7,300 new homes over the next five years in the city of Katzrin and the Golan Regional Council, according to the office.

The objective of the investment is to double the number of inhabitants in Katzrin and “to significantly increase” the number of inhabitants in the small communities of the Golan Regional Council, he added.

Some NIS 322 million will be invested in improving transportation, education, health and other infrastructure, in addition to the development of tourism, research and development centers and small businesses.

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria during the Middle East War in 1967 and annexed it in the 1980s, but the international community has never recognized this decision.

Former US President Donald Trump announced in March 2019 that he recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

On November 5, 2020, the United Nations General Assembly confirmed the sovereignty of Syria over the Golan Heights occupied by Israel since the battle of June 1967. â– 

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