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Israel advances plans for West Bank homes

Israel has published tenders for about 1300 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank and authorities are also expected to discuss proposals for another 3000 homes that have already drawn concern from the United States.

The Israel Land Authority posted the tenders for new houses to be built in a number of settlements in the West Bank, which are on land that Palestinians want for a future state.

A government planning committee is also expected in the coming week to discuss the proposals for about 3000 new settlement units.

A US State Department spokesman said on Friday such steps may raise tensions and hurt efforts to reach a peace deal.

The West Bank-based Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the new settlement plans could have a “catastrophic impact on chances to make peace on the basis of the two-state solution and on regional, US and international efforts to build confidence between the Israeli and Palestinian sides”.

US-backed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014.

Most countries regard Israel’s West Bank settlements as illegal.

Israel gained control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, among other territories, during the 1967 Six-Day War.

About 600,000 Israelis currently reside in more than 200 settlements there.

In 2016, the UN Security Council described these settlements as a violation of international law and called on Israel to cease all settlement activities.

with DPA

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