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NGO: Israel set to approve another 1,000 settler homes

July 16, 2013 9:37 P.M. (Updated: July 19, 2013 3:56 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli authorities are expected on Wednesday to give the green light for the construction of 1,071 new homes in six West Bank settlements, watchdog Peace Now said in a statement on Tuesday.

The news came as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Jordan at the start of a sixth round of intense diplomacy to revive stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, with Israel's settlement building a key sticky point.

It also came as the European Union was due to publish on Friday guidelines barring member states from funding projects in Jewish settlements.

Peace Now said that a government committee was expected to grant initial approval for plans to build 339 homes at Galgal and Almog settlements in the Jordan valley, Kfar Adumim northeast of Jerusalem and at Kochav Yaacov and Shilo near Ramallah.

Another 732 units were to be given a more advanced level of approval, one stage before the start of construction, at the West Bank's biggest settlement, Modiin Ilit, a community of 58,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews west of Ramallah, it said.

"These approvals are part of an unprecedented wave of advancing settlement plans," Peace Now said. "This is yet another message by Israel to the US and the Palestinians that this government is not ready for peace."

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