Israel okays four new Jewish residences in East Jerusalem: report

20:10, January 05, 2010      

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The Jerusalem planning and building committee on Monday approved construction of four new Jewish residential buildings in the eastern part of the city, local daily Ha'aretz reported Tuesday on its website.

The buildings, which are intended to house 24 families, will be built beside the decades-standing Beit Orot yeshiva in the contentious area east of the old city walls, said the report.

The construction project was initiated and constructed by American Jewish millionaire Irving Moskowitz, who has funded Jewish projects in the holy city, added the report.

In late December, a spokesman for Israel Construction and Housing Ministry said the ministry is seeking bids for construction of about 700 new apartments in East Jerusalem.

The tenders will include 692 housing units in three Jewish communities in East Jerusalem, the spokesman told Xinhua, adding that the construction of the new homes is expected to be finished in two or three years.

Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967 and later annexed, are considered by international community as Israeli settlements and one of the main obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a 10-month freeze on construction in the West Bank settlements in November. However, Netanyahu stressed that the construction limits would not be implemented in predominantly Arab East Jerusalem.

Israel deems Jerusalem as its indivisible capital, while the Palestinians want the east section of the holy city as capital of their future state.

The Palestinians has vowed that they will not return to the negotiating table unless Israel totally freezes its construction activities of Jewish settlements in the West Bank as well as in East Jerusalem.

Source: Xinhua
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