A new controversy in Israel over development of the latest settlement on the occupied West Bank....
A new controversy in Israel over development of the latest settlement on the occupied West Bank.... A religious nationalist group there, the Gush Emunim, has announced plans for improving land and building roads and sewerages in the settlement.
SYNOPSIS: The new settlement is on revered soil-the ruins of the biblical city of Shilo.
Shilo contains a military camp, but the Israeli government says it has not approved the settlement.
Officials say the group is there only to prepare for the archaeological digging season beginning in the spring.
But the group's secretary, Mr. Shevah Stern, said in a radio interview recently that they planned to build permanent housing, as well as develop a light chemical industry there. The Gush Emunim settlers have also laid a cornerstone for a town at Shilo without government authorisation.
Sources close to the group say that eight families are already living at the site. The Israelis have promised President Carter they would limit new settlements in occupied territories, and he has expressed concern over Shilo. He has reportedly told the Israelis he is confident they would honour their commitment and that the Shilo settlement would be halted.
The United States, which has been active in the current Middle East peace initiative, says civilian settlements in occupied territories are illegal.