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Israel approves 184 new settlement homes

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IOL Israel Palestinians~38

Associated Press

In this 2009 photograph, an Israeli flag is seen in front of the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maaleh Adumim, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. File photo: AP

Jerusalem - Israel's Jerusalem municipality approved building plans on Wednesday for 184 new homes in two Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, land that the Palestinians want for a future state.

A municipality spokeswoman said the local planning committee had approved requests by private contractors who purchased the land years ago for the construction of 144 homes in Har Homa and 40 dwellings in Pisgat Zeev.

Har Homa and Pisgat Zeev settlements are in a part of the West Bank that Israel annexed to Jerusalem after capturing the territory in the 1967 Middle East war. The annexation was not recognised internationally.

Palestinians are seeking a state in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They say Israeli settlements, regarded as illegal by most countries, could deny them a viable, contiguous state.

Israel regards Pisgat Zeev and Har Homa as neighbourhoods of Jerusalem that it would keep under any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

The two sides resumed US-brokered peace talks in July, but the negotiations appear to be going nowhere, with the future of settlements a major stumbling block.

More than 500 000 Israelis have settled in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas that are home to about 2.5 million Palestinians. - Reuters


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