Israel pushes on with plans for hundreds of settlement homes

JERUSALEM Wed Feb 5, 2014 9:24am EST

A crane is seen next to homes in a Jewish settlement near Jerusalem known to Israelis as Har Homa and to Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghneim January 3, 2014. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

A crane is seen next to homes in a Jewish settlement near Jerusalem known to Israelis as Har Homa and to Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghneim January 3, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Ammar Awad

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's Jerusalem municipality approved building plans on Wednesday for 558 new homes in the occupied West Bank, land that the Palestinians want for a future state.

A municipality spokeswoman said the local planning committee had approved requests by private contractors for the construction work in the settlements of Har Homa, Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Zeev.

The three settlements are in a part of the West Bank that Israel annexed to Jerusalem, in a move that has not been recognized internationally, after capturing the territory in the 1967 Middle East war.

The Palestinians have said that expansion of Israeli settlements, which most countries deem illegal, could derail the U.S.-sponsored peace talks that resumed in July after a three-year break.

The municipality spokeswoman said that the initial plans for the new dwellings were approved years ago.

The Palestinians are seeking a state in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel pulled its troops and settlers out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, and the enclave is now run by Hamas Islamists opposed to the present peace drive.

Har Homa and Pisgat Zeev are in one of the areas in the West Bank that Israel says it intends to keep in any future land-for-peace deal with the Palestinians.

Also on Wednesday, Israeli authorities demolished three Palestinian homes they said were built without permits in occupied East Jerusalem, displacing five families.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, called the moves a "deliberate provocation of the Palestinians to drive them to leave the negotiations."

"Israel is not only capable of sabotaging the talks, but it is flagrantly destroying the chances of peace and stability throughout the region," she said in a statement.

Three weeks ago, Israel published tenders for 1,400 new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Anti-settlement watchdog Peace Now said at that time that Israel had announced plans for 5,349 new homes in those two areas since the peace talks restarted.

(Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta and Noah Browning in Ramallah, Writing by Maayan Lubell, Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

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Comments (4)
sylvan wrote:
This will certainly give BDS the momentum it needs to hit general awareness of Israel’s apartheid state. This makes up my mind to be a the anti-AIPAC demonstration March 2 at the DC Convention hall where AIPAC will be illegally porking up our Congress, getting yet more US tax dollars to prop up the apartheid government of Bibi’s Likud..

Feb 05, 2014 9:21am EST  --  Report as abuse
Inspired43 wrote:
Zionist regime should be wiped from the face of the earth. It is the one who is obstructing the peace talks from succeeding. It just wants to keep occupying Palestinian land illegally. One day it will pay for its crimes.

Since the day it was formed till today all the presidents and prime ministers that Zionist regime had were European Ashkenazi Jews… When Jews had always been a majority in the area, why didn’t a local Jew ever became a leader.

Feb 05, 2014 9:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
MikeHockey wrote:
Too many dumb commenters here rambling on about apartheid & AIPAC, good grief, the lack of intelligence here is scary. Israel is here to stay people whether you like it or not, now get those silly delusions out of your head. Trust me you will sleep better at night, LoL!!

Feb 05, 2014 6:32pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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