Evacuated settlements and military bases 2005-2008.
Shdema. The settlers seek to establish a settlement named Shdema in place of the evacuated military base in Oush Grab. This is aimed to block the eastwards expansion of Bethlehem. Another strategic reason for the establishment of a settlement outpost there is to complete a string of settlements from Gush Etzion to Har Homa/Jerusalem and to protect the new ‘settler only’ bypass road.
Oush Grab. The site of Oush Grab is important to allow for the eastwards expansion of Bethlehem and transport links with the surrounding areas. The Bethlehem region is strangulated from the north-west by the wall and from the south-west by the bypass road N.60. The only available direction for the city to grow is eastwards via Oush Grab. According to an agreement between the local municipality and Arafat, if ever evacuated (as it was), the military base of Oush Grab would be used for civilian purposes rather than as a Palestinian base. Oush Grab is at present one of the only open public spaces in the Bethlehem area.
Area A: Area under Palestinian security and civil control
Area B: Palestinian civil control, Israeli military control
Area C: Full Israeli control