The announcement Thursday by an Interior Ministry panel that it recommends the unification of four local authorities in western Shomron into a single city is just the tip of the iceberg for development in the region called “east Gush Dan,” a report in Yisrael Hayom said. According to the report, the government is prepared to spend NIS 100 million on the project, for the development of new roads, infrastructure, schools, and other facilities for quick development and growth of the city.
The new city will also provide an infrastructure for further growth in the area. Massive building is planned for the area, with some 67,000 new homes to be built, to accommodate almost 350,000 people. The government hopes that massive building in the area will stabilize or lower home prices throughout the Tel Aviv region, where young couples find it almost impossible to buy homes.
The “east Gush Dan” region includes the area of Shomron that is right over the green line, adjacent to Rosh Ha’ayin and stretching north towards Kalkilya and south towards the area around Ben Gurion Airport. The region, which is all part of Area C (under Israeli civil and military jurisdiction) has several Arab villages, but already Jews outnumber Arabs in the region (not including Kalkilya, which is in Area A, under full Palestinian Authority control).
Part of the plan includes thousands of apartments in a new chareidi city that will be established north of the new Shomron city recommended by the panel. Dorot Illit was already approved in principle by the government 25 years ago, and is considered by government and chareidi community leaders to be an excellent solution to the demand for housing in the center of the country. Until now, various lawsuits over jurisdiction and the construction of roads have held up development, but all the lawsuits have now been resolved, and officials believe that the panel’s decision will promote the development of the entire region, including Dorit Illit, the report said.