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Ear to the Ground

Israeli Home Construction Could ‘Destroy the Peace Process’

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Posted on Dec 27, 2013
AP/Sebastian Scheiner

An ultra-Orthodox boy walks past a construction site in 2010 in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, one of the settlements that will reportedly soon see new home construction.

Israel has approved the construction of 1,600 new homes in existing settlements on territory that was seized from the Palestinians, Reuters reports:

The Israeli government official said about 600 homes would be announced in Ramat Shlomo, a settlement of mainly Ultra-Orthodox Jews located in an area of the West Bank that Israel annexed to Jerusalem in a move unrecognized internationally.

Another 800 would be built in other West Bank settlements which Israel also plans to keep in any future peace deal, though the list was not yet finalized, the official - who spoke on condition of anonymity - said.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said the move would “destroy the peace process” and could be met with retaliation.

Such retaliation would come in the form of diplomacy, Erekat said, by applying for membership in and state recognition from international organizations. Frustrated with continued settlement construction, the Palestinians went to the U.N. for recognition and, in 2012, the State of Palestine was upgraded to non-member state, a status shared by the Vatican. That brought Israel back to the negotiating table and Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has since agreed to release some Palestinian prisoners.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

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