Israeli occupation authorities for days have been bulldozing and preparing a vast tract of Palestinian land in Beit Jala, west of Bethlehem, for the expansion of the illegal settlement of Gilo.
Local official Issa al-Shatla stated on Saturday that the construction was taking place within the boundaries of Wadi Kerimizan in Beit Jala and the villages of Walaja and Sharafat, PIC reported.
Shatla said that about 900 housing units would be built on 150 to 200 dunums of Palestinian land that had been annexed to Gilo settlement, adding that the IOA almost finished building infrastructure for the new housing units.
He said that another 300 housing units would be built after finishing the first stage of this settlement expansion project.
The official noted that the IOA had paved the way for this project in the area a long time ago by systematically destroying and seizing Palestinian lands, and preventing local residents from building under different pretexts.
This new settlement project would lead to territorial isolation of east Jerusalem and its areas from Beit Jala and Bethlehem lands in particular and the south of the West Bank in general, he said.