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Israeli shelling kills Palestinian child in eastern Jabaliya
Israel backs plans for 381 new settler homes
Published Tuesday 21/01/2014 (updated) 23/01/2014 10:04
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The international community considers all Jewish settlements
built on land seized in 1967 -- such as Givat Zeev -- to be illegal
(AFP/Menahem Kahana)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel's government has approved plans to build 381 new homes in a settlement near annexed East Jerusalem, settlement watchdog Peace Now said Tuesday.

"The Israeli civil administration, which falls under the defense ministry, has published plans for the construction of 381 extra units in Givat Zeev," said spokesman Lior Amihai, referring to a settlement just south of Ramallah.

Peace Now said the new construction proved the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was "not serious about the two-state solution and that its actions are contradictory with the negotiations."

It was the third such announcement in as many weeks, and followed Israel's release on Dec. 31 of 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners, in accordance with commitments under the US-led peace talks.

On Jan. 6, Israel approved plans for 272 new homes in various West Bank settlements, and four days later it unveiled plans for more than 1,800 new units in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the message was clear.

"Netanyahu's government does not want peace," he told AFP.

"This decision confirms that Netanyahu's government only wants to continue settlement building, which will destroy any possible peace."

With very little progress visible and the April deadline for a framework agreement looming, Erekat said there was no chance the Palestinians would contemplate any extension of the talks.

"We've not been presented with a (plan for) extending negotiations, but we will not extend them for even an additional day after the nine month period we agreed on," he said.

"There are still three months left which Israel can use to move with us towards a peace agreement, but its actions confirm that it's not interested in this. It's destroying everything that might help a comprehensive peace agreement."

President Mahmoud Abbas has frequently lashed out at Israel's settlement building, and last week, four key EU member states summoned the Israeli ambassadors over the plans for another 1,800 settler homes.

The EU move was quickly denounced by Netanyahu as "hypocritical," with the Israeli leader saying its criticism was one-sided and lacked "balance and fairness."

Netanyahu has also denied that Israel was breaching any prior commitment vis-a-vis the peace talks through its ongoing settlement activity.

"We are keeping in line exactly with the understandings we undertook at the beginning of the talks," he told the foreign press corps. "Israel undertook no restraints on construction."

Israel and the Palestinians embarked upon a nine-month track of direct negotiations at the urging of US Secretary of State John Kerry, at the end of July.

But after nearly six months, which have been peppered by a steady flow of new construction announcements, the talks appear to have made little visible progress.

Israeli construction on occupied Palestinian land is one of the most thorny issues of the peace process, and brought down the last attempt at direct talks in 2010.

The international community considers all Jewish settlements built on land seized in 1967 to be illegal.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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1 ) Maan; you get thr M0st / beautiful pictures
21/01/2014 20:23
Israel must be a very beautiful country

2 ) Maureen / Australia
21/01/2014 20:24
381 new 'settler' homes approved by Israel. An act of war/invasion of Palestine, isn't it?

3 ) Mel's Mom / USA
21/01/2014 20:38
Can you get off this site, and clear up your chazzershtal (pig sty) room, and bring down those soiled blankets for washing? We need to send them off for the church to send to Syria. Then we will go to that nice pro-bono Jewish doctor, and see why your gastric band has snapped again.

4 ) Michael / Daniel 12:1
21/01/2014 23:12
http://greatprincemichael.com/UN/bkmindex.htm

5 ) Carson / Canada
22/01/2014 01:00
Keep on building Israel !! Keep on growing ! Am Israel Chai!

6 ) IM / USA
22/01/2014 02:15
The way to peace is to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its indigenous populations, destroy any cultural character of Beduin populations, poison ground waters, napalm primary schools, assassinate politically elected officials, violate each international sanctioned agreement to seize takings of off-limit Palestinian lands, bomb refugee camps, and seek to starve 1.3 million Gazans? OK, I see. These depraved acts stop terrorism and assure a peaceful Jewish state. Makes perfect sense to me.

7 ) E / usa
22/01/2014 05:04
381 new 'settler' homes approved by Israel. An act of war/invasion of Palestine, isn't it? No, what you on drugs or something

8 ) gabi / australia
23/01/2014 04:26
# 3 - troll! You clearly never studied law, or you would have been told very early on that if you have to rely on ridicule and insult, you show you have already lost the argument. (Apart from looking completely ridiculous.)

9 ) Nancy / Singapore
23/01/2014 19:27
@8 Don't you Aussie settlers have a sense of humour? But I do hope Mel's Mom has made you plutz.

10 ) gabi / australia
25/01/2014 01:49
#9 - yes, we do have a sense of humour, it's just that we don't like people slagging off at others for no real reason. Mel had made no comment, so "Mel's Mom" seemed to be commenting on nothing, just having a crack at Mel. Who, incidentally, makes a lot of valid comments, so much so that often there are fake Mels saying the opposite of what Mel says, which shows little original thought on the part of the fakes. (btw I'm sure that the real Mel's mum would have much more class than shown by # 3.)
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