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Israel Okays more settlements in WB

Tel Aviv has moved to approve a plan to construct hundreds more illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.

“The ministerial committee responsible for settlements had decided to build several hundred units at Gush Etzion, Maale Adumim, Ariel and Kyriat Sefer” in the West Back, announced the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Sunday statement, AFP reported.

The move would further complicate the stalled talks between Israeli and the Palestinian Authority officials.

Early this month, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics said that the illegal settlement construction in the occupied West bank has climbed sharply in the past five months.

The data, released by the bureau on Saturday, indicates that the Israeli regime started over 114 settlement units during the 10-month construction freeze Tel Aviv announced in November 2009.

The 114 units, the construction of which began during the so-called freeze have now been completed, as well as over 1,175 other units that started constructing before the partial moratorium, which excluded al-Quds (Jerusalem).

The data also reveals that construction of over 427 housing units has begun since the expiration of the freeze in late September.

The figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics are, however, based on partial information and do not cover a reportedly dramatic rise in illegal construction in West Bank outposts, which are not officially documented.

It does not include caravans and tents that are often placed in illegal outposts in order to settle in the land, either.

Israel’s insistence to resume its West Bank settlement construction projects — deemed by the international community as illegal — prompted Palestinian Authority negotiators to walk out a new round of US-sponsored direct talks.

Palestinians have repeatedly voiced concern about Israel’s efforts to wipe out the Islamic and Palestinian identity of the occupied territories, East al-Quds in particular, to effectively render the establishment of a future Palestinian state unfeasible.

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