RealNews

Israel to Expand West Bank Settlements

Israel said Monday it will build more than 200 new homes in Jewish West Bank settlements — a blow to peace efforts despite word that Ariel Sharon’s new party plans a major push for Palestinian statehood if it wins upcoming elections. In a separate sign of accommodation, Israeli officials said they will likely permit east Jerusalem’s Palestinians to vote in next month’s Palestinian election. Israel had recently threatened to bar east Jerusalem residents from voting. The latest settlement construction, revealed in newspaper ads published Monday seeking bids from contractors, would violate Israel’s commitments under the U.S.-backed “road map” peace plan. The plans include a total of 228 homes in the settlements of Beitar Illit and Efrat — both just outside Jerusalem.Full Story

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