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Peace Now: Israel expanding settlements, erasing Green Line

Aug. 26, 2008 10:55 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 26, 2008 10:55 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - A report released on Tuesday shows that Israel is obliterating the Green Line and creating a territorial link to settlements deep in the heart of the West Bank.

The report by the Israeli group Peace Now's Settlement Watch Team shows that Israel is building 1,000 new buildings, a total of 2,600 new units of housing in illegal settlements in the West Bank.

"It seems that the government of Israel repeats the mistakes of the past, by on the one hand negotiating an agreement with the Palestinians and in parallel constructing in the settlements. This construction undermines the Palestinian partners and [creates] facts on the ground that might prevent the possibility of a peace agreement," the report concludes.

Construction in settlements in the first half of 2008 accelerated compared to the same period last year, despite the start of formal peace talks with the Palestinian Authority in November of 2007. Tenders for construction in the settlements have increased by 550%; 417 housing units compared to just 65 in 2007.

Israeli government figures show that 64% of all construction in the settlements was initiated by the Israeli Housing Ministry.

In addition, settlement construction in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem has skyrocketed. Tenders for 1,761 housing units were issued in the first half of 2008, compared to just 46 in all of 2007.

The report references field visits, aerial photographs and government data .

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