Israeli minister urges for doubling illegal homes

Israeli minister urges for doubling illegal homes
Thu Oct 24, 2013 14:39:44

Israeli regime's Housing Minister Uri Ariel has called for doubling the number of Jewish settler homes in the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil.

Ariel, who leads the far-right Jewish Home party and lives in a West Bank settlement himself, told army radio on Thursday that he supported “concrete plans for the construction of 100 (new) homes in Hebron [al-Khalil].”

“The land for this exists, and we're preparing the (building) project. We hope that during the coming year we can begin to build,” Ariel said.

The flashpoint city of al-Khalil, home to nearly 200,000 Palestinians, also comprises some 80 illegal settler homes in the center of town, housing about 700 Jews who live under Israeli army protection.

The al-Khalil settlement issue came to the forefront last month when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the Jewish resettlement of a long-disputed Palestinian home, in response to the September 22 killing of an Israeli troop by a suspected Palestinian gunman.

The Israeli regime had removed 15 settlers from the house last year for legal reasons, but the Israeli troop's shooting has been a pretext for Netanyahu to call for “strengthening the settlements” and re-occupying the home.

The settlement issue, which derailed peace talks with the Palestinians in 2010, has raised the ire of Palestinian officials in the current round of US-brokered negotiations, which began at the end of July.

Israel announced in August that it had approved the construction of more than 2,000 new settler homes in the West Bank and east al-Quds, and figures released this month showed construction starts had increased by 70 percent on last year in those territories.

Settlement building in the occupied West Bank and annexed east al-Quds is considered illegal under international law.


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