Construction of a New Settlement Has Begun in the Heart of the West Bank

The Israeli Ministry of Housing has recently commenced infrastructure construction for a new settlement, situated two kilometers west of the Ariel settlement, known as “Amirim Neighborhood” or “Ariel West.” Officially part of the Ariel settlement, this new settlement lies beyond its boundaries, approximately two kilometers away. It is adjacent to the Palestinian village of Salfit, effectively disconnecting Palestinian villages north of Salfit, such as Kifl Haris and Haris, from the Salfit district.

Peace Now: “The construction of Ariel West, a new settlement deep in the West Bank, just before Ramadan and amidst the imminent danger of escalation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, is further proof that the Israeli government is seeking violent escalation and opening a third front of war. It is also further proof, for anyone still in doubt, that it is doing all it can to destroy the possibility of the two-state solution. Israeli citizens deserve a better government, and its actions and decisions are endangering the lives and futures of both Palestinians and Israelis, as well as that of the entire region. The construction of a new settlement is part of recent initiatives amidst the ongoing war, aimed at advancing thousands of housing units in the territories, declaring thousands of dunams as state land, and approving significant budgets for settlements in the 2024 budget.”

Ariel West Construction Complex.

The new settlement, named “Amirim Neighborhood,” is based on Plan No. 130/3/1 approved in 1991 for the construction of approximately 1,600 housing units on lands previously declared as public (“state land”). Ariel West is an initiative of the Ministry of Housing to establish a de facto new settlement without a government decision, utilizing a decision made thirty years ago, before the Oslo Accords (for more information on how the Ministry of Housing managed to promote the construction of a neighborhood that is essentially a new settlement – click here).

Since these are old plans, it seems that part of the planned road to the neighborhood passes through private Palestinian land. Consequently, the authorities have advanced a new road, opting to use old plans and approvals, and made amendments to the access road plans instead of seeking renewed approval for a new settlement and an updated plan, drawing public and international attention. The plan for the access road to the settlement was approved to take effect in November 2022, paving the way, figuratively, for the establishment of the settlement. Construction began in February 2024 for Ariel West.