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Israel approves 600 more homes in occupied East Jerusalem

Feb. 26, 2010 10:59 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 27, 2010 11:13 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel's district planning commission approved the construction of 600 new settlement homes in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli media reported on Friday.

The homes are tipped for construction near the illegal Pisgat Ze'ev settlement and the Palestinian neighborhood of Shu'fat, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

The number was scaled back to 600 from the original 1,100 when it was revealed that much of the land was owned privately by Palestinians, according to the daily.

Meanwhile, two homes in the adjacent Palestinian neighborhood of Beit Hanina were slated for demolition, while eight families in Silwan were handed orders announcing their homes were to be demolished, as Israeli municipality workers entered the area accompanied by military guards on Wednesday.

Settlement construction in East Jerusalem is deemed illegal under international law, as Israel's sovereignty over the eastern part of city, occupied in 1967, is not internationally recognized. Further settlement expansion in the city has sparked international condemnation, as Palestinians throughout the occupied part of the city are served with court ordered home evictions, despite Israeli courts lacking jurisdiction in the area.

The World Court has ruled that all the settlements Israel has built in occupied territory are illegal.

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