HEBRON, West Bank – The Israeli military has created a new authority to provide municipal services for settlers in Hebron, drawing accusations that Israel is moving closer to annexing parts of the volatile West Bank city.
The military order, signed last week, alters a 20-year-old agreement in Hebron's Old City, where several hundred ultranationalist settlers live in heavily guarded enclaves surrounded by tens of thousands of Palestinians.
While Israel maintained security control over the area under the 1997 agreement, the Palestinians provided municipal services. The army says the new order establishes a new "municipal services administration" for the Jewish neighborhood.
Kamel Hmeid, the city's Palestinian governor, says the order is meant to deepen Israeli control.