Why a new house in the heart of the Israeli heartland looks like a cross between a giant canteen and a church
On a cold, drizzly Monday in February, the tiny, shabby home was transformed into a church, complete with the steeple, chandelier, stained glass window, and a stone altar.
The tiny home was part of the Israel’s Bethlehem project, which is a $200 million expansion of the historic city.
A new church in the Bethlehem area is part of Israel’s new $200M Bethlehem project.
(Shai Nitzan/Reuters) The project is part to create a new village that will serve as a hub for the region’s Palestinian population and as a gateway to the West Bank.
Located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Bethlehem, the new village will include a hospital, a hospital for children, an educational center, a school, and housing for the homeless and a medical center for the sick.
But the Bethlehem project has also sparked protests from Palestinian and Israeli activists who say it will damage the Palestinian landscape.
The new village is part for Israel to rebuild its borders with the West.
Israel has built thousands of settlements in the West out of the arid West Bank, and the new settlement is expected to generate hundreds of thousands of jobs for the nearby communities.
Some Palestinians believe the development will be used to expand Jewish settlements in Hebron and Nablus, as well as East Jerusalem, where Israel continues to build illegal outposts.
Palestinians believe this project will be a step towards the establishment of a state of their own.
In a recent poll, 71 percent of Israelis said they support the construction of the settlement.
“There is no question about the settlement project,” said Nidal Abbass, a Palestinian journalist and former member of the Palestine Legislative Council.
“The main problem is the Israeli government’s failure to understand the reality on the ground.”
But Israel’s neighbors, including Jordan and Egypt, are wary of the project and its effects.
“We are in a crisis and there is a risk that this project could become a source of instability for Jordan,” said Rami Abdelrahman, a Jordanian analyst and former Middle East bureau chief at Al Jazeera.
Jordan has long seen Israel as an enemy, Abdelrahmans said, adding that many Palestinians have no choice but to support the project.
“In order to make the most of the land, we have to make sure that the Palestinians can’t live in the same land.”
The Bethlehem project was originally scheduled to be completed in 2019, but was delayed by the outbreak of the Arab Spring.
As of April, it is estimated the project will cost an estimated $1.8 billion, and be completed by 2026.
While the new town is the most expensive of Israel, the cost of building a new Palestinian town could be higher.
Some critics argue the project is illegal and will lead to further displacement of Palestinians.
“It is not just the cost, but the consequences that this is having on the Palestinian people,” said Khalil Abu al-Haj, an expert on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the Middle East Institute.
“This project is a disaster for the Palestinians.
It is a direct result of the occupation.”
Israel is building a large new settlement in the occupied West Bank in response to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
Israel is also building thousands of settler homes in the Israeli West Bank out of an area it has illegally occupied since 1967.
Critics say the project would destroy the Palestinian identity and could incite violence.
Israel and the Palestinians agreed to an agreement in 2010 in which they would create a “safe zone” for Palestinians in the territories, but it has not been implemented.
In the West Wall neighborhood of Ramallah, which was once part of East Jerusalem but is now part of Bethlehem’s Old City, Palestinians are also protesting the construction.
“Why would the Palestinians have to pay for building a church and a hospital in the middle of the city?
What good are they?
What can we expect?” said Abu al-Hab, referring to the project’s supporters.
“They don’t have the money to do it.”