- The most populous settlement in the West Bank (some 31,615 in 2006), just east of Jerusalem. The name is derived from the book of Joshua (15:6-18), in which Ma'aleh Adumim is described as a border area between the tribes of Judah (see JUDEA) and Benjamin. The name refers to the route leading from the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem dominated by the "reddish hues" in the rock formations. Established by 23 families on the 7th night of Chanukah 1975, its founding members spanned a wide sociocultural and political spectrum. In 1991, it was officially declared a city, becoming the first "Jewish city" in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In January 2003, a new two-mile road connecting Ma'aleh Adumim westward to Jerusalem was officially opened. It features two tunnels that run under the campus of Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Mount Scopus.In 2005, the government of Ariel Sharon announced plans to build residential housing in the area east of Jerusalem and west of Ma'aleh Adumim known as "E-1" (thereby implementing a plan that had been approved in principle by successive Israeli governments since the early 1990s). While Israel presented this plan as a legitimate response to the continued natural growth of Ma'aleh Adumim and neighboring communities, the Palestinians and their supporters charged it was an attempt by Israel to complete the "encirclement" of Jerusalem and deny the Palestinians access to the Jordan Valley. Although the fate of the E-1 project was uncertain, the long-standing Israeli popular consensus remained that any viable permanent agreement with the Palestinians must involve the redrawing of the Green Line in order to facilitate the incorporation of Ma'ale Adumim with Israel. In Ehud Olmert's Convergence Plan, there was specific reference to Ma'ale Adumim as one of the three settlement blocs (along with the Etzion Bloc and Ariel) into which the majority of West Bank settlements beyond Israel's West Bank security barrier will be collapsed and that will be incorporated under permanent Israeli sovereignty.
Historical Dictionary of Israel. Bernard Reich David H. Goldberg. Edited by Jon Woronoff..
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