Israel plans new settler homes as Kerry wraps up visit

Israel plans new settler homes as Kerry wraps up visit
Fri Jan 10, 2014 16:21:49

Israel unveiled plans Friday to build more than 1,800 new settler homes, a move the Palestinians said was a signal to the US to abandon efforts for Middle East peace.

The announcement comes a week after US Secretary of State John Kerry visited the region in his latest attempt, which had brought no fruits.

Kerry’s 10th trip was clouded by bitter recriminations from Palestinian leaders who accused the Zionist regime of lacking commitment to building peace after decades of conflict.

The housing ministry announced the plans for 1,076 units in annexed east Al-Quds and 801 in the occupied West Bank, said the Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now.

"The housing ministry announced the plans this morning," Peace Now spokesman Lior Amihai told AFP.

"Many of the units will be built in existing settlements such as Efrat and Ariel in the West Bank, and Ramat Shlomo, Ramot and Pisgat Zeev in east Al-Quds."

The ministry could not be immediately reached for confirmation.

Palestinians said the move proved Israel wanted Kerry to stay away, and was another attempt by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to "destroy" the peace process.

"The new settlement construction plan is a message from Netanyahu to Kerry not to come back to the region to continue his efforts in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks," senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.

"Every time Kerry has stepped up his efforts, returning to the region (for more talks), Netanyahu has stepped up his efforts to destroy the peace process," Erakat said.

"Netanyahu is determined to destroy the two-state solution."

The international community considers the colonization of occupied land to be illegal, and the Palestinians have long viewed settlement construction as a key obstacle to reaching a peace agreement.

Some 350,000 Jewish settlers live in the occupied West Bank, in addition to another 200,000 Israelis settled in occupied and annexed east Al-Quds.


string(701) "[{"id":"1550571","sort":"3148842","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/01/02/alalam_635242612462310409_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Amman blasts Israel on Jordan Valley annexation"} ,{"id":"1550999","sort":"3148843","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/01/03/alalam_635243474707668326_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Israel test fires Arrow III missile over Mediterranean"} ,{"id":"1552077","sort":"3148844","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/01/06/alalam_635246176175795300_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Thousands of African migrants resume protest in Israel"} ,{"id":"1552198","sort":"3148845","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/01/06/alalam_635246441003901007_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Israel approves more illegal settlement units"} ]"