Israel announces plans to build 1800 new settler homes
Israeli settlement construction in the Palestinian territory is illegal under international law (File Archive/AFP)
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The Israeli Housing Ministry on Friday announced bids for 1,800 settler homes in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Israeli media reported.
The Israeli news site Ynet said that the Ministry issued a tender for building 1,800 new settlement homes -- over 1,000 in East Jerusalem and 800 in the West Bank.
Walla, however, reported that 1,400 units would be built, including 600 in the Ramat Shlomo settlement of East Jerusalem and 800 in the West Bank.
The announcement was originally scheduled for last week, but was postponed due to the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry, the Walla report said.
Three days before Israel released 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners in late December, military radio said that Israel planned to announce the construction of 1,400 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank to coincide with the prisoner release.
The Palestinian negotiating team resigned in protest against continued Israeli settlement construction in mid-November, dealing a major blow to negotiations between Israel and the PLO that had already been stalled.
Negotiator Mohammed Shtayyeh told AFP at the time that they resigned in response to "increasing settlement building (by Israel) and the absence of any hope of achieving results," following Netanyahu's announcement that Israel would build 20,000 new settlement homes in the West Bank.
More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.