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Israel says construction in E Jerusalem to be expanded
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09:15, February 13, 2008

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Israeli Housing Minister Ze'ev Boim said on Tuesday that 1,100 new apartments will be built in two Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, local media reported.

Boim told Israel Radio that the bids of the construction of 370 apartments in Har Homa and an additional 750 in Pisgat Ze'ev would go out soon.

"There is no delay, limitation, or suspension of the construction of Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem," he was quoted as saying.

On Monday, Jerusalem city manager Yair Ma'ayan told the Knesset (Parliament) Economics Committee that the government was holding up construction of hundreds of apartments in Jewish neighborhoods of east Jerusalem due to the negotiations with the Palestinians.

After the Annapolis conference on Mideast peace in late November, media reports about settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem had provoked anger from the Palestinians.

In response, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised not to build any new Jewish settlement, including those that are part of the greater Jerusalem area.

However, Olmert's office said that construction in East Jerusalem has not been frozen, but Olmert has asked to be informed of all building plans there because of the diplomatic sensitivity.

Israel captured the eastern part of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War, which the Palestinians claim as the capital of a future statehood.

At the Annapolis conference, both the Palestinian and Israeli sides had vowed to implement the U.S.-brokered roadmap plan.

The first phase of the roadmap plan calls on the Palestinians to crack down on militants, while demanding that Israel halt Jewish settlement activity and uproot illegal outposts.

Source: Xinhua

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