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Israel announces more than 1,800 new settler homes: Watchdog

AFP , Friday 10 Jan 2014
File Photo: Apartments are seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim near Jerusalem, in this June 7, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)
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Israel announced plans on Friday to build more than 1,800 new settler homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, settlement watchdog Peace Now said.

The housing ministry announced the plans for 1,076 units in annexed east Jerusalem and 801 in the occupied West Bank, Peace Now spokesman Lior Amihai told AFP.

"The housing ministry announced the plans this morning," Amihai said.

"Many of the units will be built in existing settlements such as Efrat and Ariel in the West Bank, and Ramat Shlomo, Ramot and Pisgat Zeev in east Jerusalem," he said.

The ministry could not be immediately reached for confirmation.

The report comes a week after US Secretary of State John Kerry visited the region in his latest effort to push Israeli and Palestinian leaders towards an elusive peace deal.

Kerry kick-started negotiations in July after a three-year hiatus, but his 10th visit was clouded by bitter recriminations from both sides, who accused each other of lacking commitment to building peace after decades of conflict.

Israeli settlement building on occupied Palestinian territory is a key sticking point, and derailed the last round of direct talks in 2010.

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