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Israel approves construction of 277 homes in West Bank


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Israel approves construction of 277 homes in West Bank

2011-08-16 04:54:28 GMT+7 (ICT)

TEL AVIV (BNO NEWS) -- Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak approved the construction of 277 apartments in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, officials said on Monday.

Barak authorized the construction of the new housing units, which are set to be built in Ariel's Noyman neighborhood, last week. One hundred of the apartments are intended for Israelis who were evacuated in 2005 from a Gaza Strip settlement, while the rest are set to be sold, according to Haaretz newspaper.

The construction is expected to conclude in about three years. This marks the largest construction project in a single settlement since the establishment of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.

The announcement comes days after Israel approved plans to develop new units in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as capital of their future State, including 1,600 units in Ramat Shlomo. The United States, the European Union and the United Nations criticized Israel's plan, saying it undermines the peace process with Palestinians.

Meanwhile, the Arab League on Monday condemned the new escalation of settlement activities in Jerusalem and demanded an immediate cessation of all Israeli settlement activities, according to Palestine News & Information Agency. The regional organization also called on the international community and the UN Security Council to force Israel to comply with international law and resolutions.

Israel lifted last September a 10-month freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since Israel refused to extend the freeze.

Palestine demanded a stop to settlement construction in the East Jerusalem and West Bank area as a key element for continuing peace talks, aimed at reaching a two-state solution based in the 1967 Green Line. East Jerusalem was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967, when it also occupied the West Bank and Gaza.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-08-16

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