Israel exploiting US inability to halt settlement buildings: Abbas

Israel announced plans on Monday to build nearly 700 new buldings in areas of the occupied West Bank.

Israel exploiting US inability to halt settlement buildings: Abbas

Israel announced plans on Monday to build nearly 700 new buldings in areas of the occupied West Bank.

Under the new blueprint, Israel's Housing Ministry invited contractors to bid for the construction of 198 housing units in Pisgat Zeev, 377 buildings in Neve Yaakov and 117 dwellings in Har Homa, settlements near Jerusalem.

The construction plan was announced as part of a wider government project to build several thousand new homes in Israel.

A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the plan, saying new building on territory occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war was illegal.

"The Israeli government proves every day that it is not ready for peace," Abbas's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdainah said, saying Israel is exploiting U.S. and international inability to halt settlement building.

The United States has expressed dismay at previous Israeli building plans in and around the eastern part of Jerusalem.

"We are dismayed at the Jerusalem planning committee's decision to move forward on the approval process for the expansion of Gilo in Jerusalem," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said at the time.

"At a time when we are working to relaunch negotiations, these actions make it more difficult for our efforts to succeed."

Under U.S. pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in November a so-called 10-month freeze of housing starts in West Bank settlements.

Abbas has demanded Israel halt all settlement expansion, saying he would resume peace talks after it did so.

Last month, Israel aroused international criticism when it approved the building of 900 homes for Jews at Gilo, where 40,000 Israelis already live on land annexed to Jerusalem after the 1967 conflict.

The World Court has ruled the settlements are illegal and Palestinians see settlements "a land grab".


Agencies


Last Mod: 28 Aralık 2009, 14:54
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