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Israel unblocks plans for 1,800 settler homes

AFP , Thursday 5 Jun 2014
A general view of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo. Israel's housing ministry said Thursday, June 5, 2014 (Photo: AP)
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The Israeli government on Thursday ordered officials to move forward with plans for another 1,800 settler homes, just hours after issuing tenders for 1,500 housing units, an official said.

"The political echelon has ordered the Civil Administration to advance 1,800 new (housing) units," the Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity, referring to a defence ministry unit responsible for all West Bank planning issues.

The order relates to construction in 10 separate settlements across the West Bank, all of which are at different stages of the planning process. Israeli media reports said the plans had been frozen by the government some three months ago.

The announcement came just hours after Israel's housing ministry published tenders for the construction of more than 1,500 new homes, 400 of them in annexed east Jerusalem and the rest in the West Bank.

Israel said the move was in direct response to the establishment of a new Palestinian unity government, backed by the Islamist Hamas movement which calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

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