West Bank: Israel OKs new settlement construction as settlers attack Palestinian village
A key committee in Israel has approved construction of the first new Jewish settlement in the West Bank in a decade, an Israeli official said Thursday. According to the AP, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak plans to approve the Maskiot settlement within weeks.
Israel originally declared in 2006 that it would build Maskiot, then froze the plan after international outcry. But earlier this year, nine Israeli families settled in mobile homes at the site.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat accused Israel of undermining U.S.-backed peace talks. "This is destroying the process of a two-state solution," Erekat said. "I hope the Americans will make the Israelis revoke the decision. I think they can make the Israelis do this."
Meanwhile, Palestinian security on Thursday said more than 20 Jewish settlers have attacked a Palestinian village in the West Bank, smashing cars and windows and cutting electricity wires. No injuries were reported in the village of Burin.
Palestinian policemen said dozens of houses and cars were damaged, and that shots were fired in the air when Israeli soldiers arrived on the scene. The closest settlement to Burin is Yitzhar, where a settler was arrested this month for allegedly trying to launch a homemade rocket at Burin.
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