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Israel plans 1,600 new Jewish homes in Jerusalem

By | March 10th 2010

JERUSALEM, March 9 - Israel announced plans on Tuesday to build 1,600 new Jewish homes in an area of the occupied West Bank it has annexed to Jerusalem, a move likely to draw Palestinian anger during a high-level U.S. visit.

The construction blueprint for Ramat Shlomo neighbourhood, published by Israel's Interior Ministry, could be implemented after a 60-day review period, spokeswoman Efrat Orbach said on the second day of a visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

The United States welcomed, with reservations, Israel's decision in November to place a 10-month freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank, which along with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, it occupied in a war in 1967.

However, Israel has stressed that the moratorium does not apply to East Jerusalem and adjacent areas of the West Bank which it annexed to create a single municipality of Jerusalem in a move that has not been recognised internationally.

Palestinians want their own state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital.


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