RAMALLAH, November 9 (JMCC) - Israel today revealed a plan to build 800 homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel. The announcement comes just hours after the Obama administration expressed ‘deep disappointment’ at Israel’s decision to construct 1,300 Jewish homes in East Jerusalem.
The plan for the homes, in an area of Ariel close to the Palestinian town of Salfit, was reported to be at an advanced stage, needing only the approval of the local planning and building committee.
The disclosure drew a furious reaction from the Palestinians, who said it was time for the international community to immediately recognize a Palestinian state on the pre-occupation 1967 borders.
Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians' chief negotiator, said: Once more, at the moment when we expected Prime Minister Netanyahu to announce a full settlement freeze ... he has sent Palestinians and the US administration a clear message that Israel chooses settlements, not peace.
The Ariel and East Jerusalem proposals came six weeks after the end of a 10-month partial freeze on settlement construction.
Since then, fledgling direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians have been on hold while the US tries to broker an extension to the freeze.
The Palestinians have said they will end negotiations without a further moratorium – but the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has so far not ceded to US pressure.Read
more at The Guardian…