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Israel approves 272 new settlement homes in West Bank
Published Tuesday 07/01/2014 (updated) 08/01/2014 19:31
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Palestinian children look at bungalows built by Israeli settlers on seized
land, near Birzeit on Dec. 3, 2013 (AFP/File Abbas Momani)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- A plan for 272 new homes in West Bank settlements was approved on the eve of US Secretary of State John Kerry's departure Monday, Israel's Peace Now movement said.

Israel had been expected to announce new settlement plans alongside the release of Palestinian prisoners last week -- as it did during previous releases -- in a bid to ease the concerns of hardliners as it engages in US-brokered peace talks.

Peace Now said the construction of 250 homes at Ofra and 22 at Karnei Shomron was approved by the Israeli military administration charged with the settlements.

"Building could begin rapidly," the anti-settlement group said in a statement.

"A government seeking a two-state solution will not worsen the conflict by building in the settlements, especially those with no chance of remaining under Israeli sovereignty" in the event of a peace deal with the Palestinians, it said.

Ofra and Karnei Shomron are "both isolated settlements in the heart of the West Bank," Peace Now said.

A defense ministry official told AFP the planned building work was announced last October.

"Sunday's publication is only the second of four necessary steps before building work can begin," the official said on condition of anonymity, adding that obtaining the necessary permits will take "months."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also told members of his Likud party on Monday that he did not intend to dismantle settlements in the West bank as part of peace talks with the Palestinians, the private television station Channel 10 reported.

Asked by party hardliners about any possible concessions in the talks, Netanyahu said he would make no "territorial concession" in the Jordan Valley, the occupied West Bank or in annexed east Jerusalem, the station reported.

Kerry left Israel on Monday after his tenth trip to the region since last March, insisting progress had been made despite failing to reach a framework to guide Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Israel freed 26 long-serving Palestinians last week, the third of four tranches it plans to release in line with commitments made as part of the latest peace talks.

The first two releases were accompanied by the announcement of new settlement construction plans in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem.

Some 350,000 Jewish settlers live in West Bank settlements, in addition to another 200,000 Israelis settled in occupied and annexed east Jerusalem.

The international community considers the colonization of occupied land to be illegal, and the Palestinians have long viewed settlement construction as a key obstacle to reaching a peace agreement.
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1 ) Israel is one of the / SMALLEST COUNTRY ON EARTH
07/01/2014 10:47
the population is reaching 8 milions! ISRAEL MUST BUILD MORE HOMES FOR ITS POPULATION!

2 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
07/01/2014 11:35
Palestinians want convicted murderers released from their prison sentences. Supposedly this is not for "peace", but simply to get the Palestinians to sit at the negotiating table. Nobody in the world has been able to explain this to any civilized person - why freeing convicted murderers and paying them a $50,000 reward before a peace treaty is signed will bring peace. All this does is promote terrorism and show Israelis that the Palestinians reward those who kill Israeli civilians.

3 ) Move / Out
07/01/2014 14:55
#1) - Try emigrating to bigger countries like USA!

4 ) Tibi / Tubas
07/01/2014 14:56
The "Palestinian children look" on (the photo) as Israel expands settlements,
on disputed lands, which were never previously part of a Palestinian state,
since their government will not negotiate an agreement to end the dispute !!

5 ) Mel / USA
07/01/2014 15:55
No,it's not just Israel that has 'approved' these new illegal Jewish-only colonies,it's Israel's patrons &donors TOO! So,don't just 'credit' Israel with "approving" more racist,expansionist,illegal projects,war crimes,& human rights abuses. None of these criminal projects could be implemented w/out USG illegal funding & donations from foreign political organizations like AIPAC & CUFI(ChristianZionist)'Armagedolallies' who believe in extermination for a 'chosen' cause(still).

6 ) E / usa
07/01/2014 16:07
This is not a blow at all to any peace process. Palestinian's hatred of jews and continuation of rejecting anything that israel asking. That a major blow. The more palestinians complain and the more they promote hatred and violance the more israel gonna build. Its a simple math. Israel took painful steps to make sure talks continue and palestinians doing nothing for peace to succeed. Palestinians have no time to demand. The land is getting smaller so its their own fault

7 ) Sylvia Flefel / Palestinian Territory
07/01/2014 16:10
if they need to build settlements not on what left of the stolen land.this not the paestinians problem..enough is enough.
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