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Israeli media: soldier stabbed in head in a Qalqiliya checkpoint
Israel presses on with plans for 6,000 new settler homes
Published Tuesday 18/12/2012 (updated) 20/12/2012 09:55
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JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israeli officials said they would press on with plans this week to build 6,000 homes for settlers on Palestinian land, defying criticism from Western powers who fear the move will hit already faint hopes for a peace accord.

Stung by the de facto recognition of Palestinian sovereignty in a UN General Assembly vote last month, Israel announced it would expand settlements in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem.

An Israeli interior ministry planning committee on Monday gave preliminary approval for 1,500 new homes in the Ramat Shlomo settlement.

The panel will now start discussing plans for another 4,500 homes in two other settlements, Givat Hamatos and Gilo, in back-to-back sessions that could run into next week, ministry spokesman Efrat Orbach said Tuesday.

Israel counts the three settlements as part of its Jerusalem municipality even though they are on West Bank land seized in the 1967 Middle East war.

Palestinians see the settlements as obstacles to achieving a viable state with a capital in East Jerusalem.

"Settlement activity is unilateral and is completely adverse to the continued viability of a two-state solution and the possibility for our people to continue to exist. It's an attack on our people's right to life, essentially," Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said Monday.

The United States and European Union condemned the plans.

"We are deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action. These repeated announcements and plans of new construction run counter to the cause of peace," US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

"Israel's leaders continually say that they support a path towards a two-state solution yet these actions only put that goal further at risk.

"So we again call on Israel, and the Palestinians, to cease any kinds of counterproductive, unilateral actions and take concrete steps to return to direct negotiations," Nuland said.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague called the Israeli decision "a serious provocation and an obstacle to peace."

"If implemented, it would make a negotiated two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, very difficult to achieve," he said.

"We urge Israel to reverse this decision and take no further steps aimed at expanding or entrenching settlement activity."

Netanyahu deputy defends

The settlements are illegal under international law and Western powers have been especially troubled by Israel's declared intent to build in E-1, a wedge of land between East Jerusalem and the West Bank where it had previously held off under US pressure.

Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said the expansion of the Jerusalem-area settlements was a resumption of plans put on hold while Western powers tried to persuade Abbas to abandon the Palestinians' UN status upgrade.

"We said, 'We won't build, so as not to give Abu Mazen (Abbas) an excuse to go to the UN and an excuse not to come to the table,'" Yaalon told Army Radio, "After he did what he did ... we removed these restrictions from ourselves."

He dismissed the international furor. "The world automatically condemns any construction over the Green Line, and then moves on," Yaalon said, referring to the West Bank boundary.

"We will continue to build in accordance with the state of Israel's strategic interests," he added.

Critics in Israel have suggested Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pandering to the right-wing electorate as he prepares to run for re-election in a Jan. 22 ballot.
1 ) Arnold / Canada
18/12/2012 16:46
While Abbas twiddles his thumbs and refuses to face his nemesis' in Israel the Palestinians continue their road to nowhere.

2 ) JoeFattal / USA
18/12/2012 17:45
These settlements are mostly a human shield. They get them too close to Palestinian land and complain when someone fire a rocket at them and than retaliate in return. And maybe Yaalon is right, Israel build all these settlements for strategic interest. They are built for defenses purposes and they put their own people too close to comfort.

3 ) gabi / Australia
18/12/2012 17:49
That's excellent news, Israelis also need homes.

4 ) Wissam / ps
18/12/2012 17:54
oh no! The mother of 'Anger' for Abbas and Co. Quick! Dispatch the Pal foreign minister to cry at the United Nations. We Palestinians will be busy removing Abbas and his occupation butlers.

5 ) shirley / Australia
18/12/2012 18:00
It certainly seems like a well planned idea, now to carry on with the building programme.

6 ) Big Mike / USA
18/12/2012 19:55
It makes you wonder why Abbas doesn't go to the ICC ???

7 ) JoeFattal / USA
18/12/2012 21:21
@3) Come one now. Israel has more homes than they have people.

8 ) Colin Wright / USA
18/12/2012 23:32
Taking the long view, it's good to see Israel pressing ahead with measures that will help to ensure her eventual demise.

9 ) Paul / USA
18/12/2012 23:46
Yes 6) it makes me wonder as well,... wonder if Abbas, Ashrawi, Erekat, etc. and the gang are not double agents. While the rest of the Pals suffer in squalor and poverty, they live high on the hog,... talking but taking no action, thus allowing the Zionist to build, build, build!!! Maybe they are undercover Zionists taking financial kick backs. Does the name "Uncle Tom" sound a familiar note?

10 ) Bob / Canada
19/12/2012 00:15
Whats wrong with a job creation program for the unemployed Palis??

11 ) shirley /2 / Australia
19/12/2012 01:18
I am in total dis agreement with statements by Shirley Australia and as shirley is popular name in WEST will in future post as Shirley S Abass needs to join Geneva conventions and all UN bodies and implode the illegal wallnot built for LAND ANNEXATION and not Isreals security as it is not in ISREAL and condem reuters use of defact state when describing STATE OF PALESTINE and maan for not being able to edit reuters pro US /ISREAL brainwashingands challege maan tri print thisin support of free spe

12 ) Joe / US
19/12/2012 02:53
Abbas kept quiet about settlement building because he was making millions in hush money

13 ) Colin Wright / USA
19/12/2012 02:55
To Arnold #1: 'While Abbas twiddles his thumbs and refuses to face his nemesis' in Israel the Palestinians continue their road to nowhere.' 's okay. Have you worked out where Israel's road goes? Large, irretrievably co-mingled state with Arab majority...hmmm. You'll get there, too -- and it'll all be because you insisted on it. That'll be the kicker.

14 ) Julie / USA
19/12/2012 05:26
what more will it take for Abbas to finally go to ICC?????? it's truly unbelievable that he didn't do so immediately...as if there aren't enough heinous, vicious izraeli war crimes, crimes against humanity, and crimes of international & humanitarian law already?????? hey Abbas, THERE'S MORE THAN ENOUGH...there's MORE THAN SIX DECADES WORTH OF EGREGIOUS IZRAELI CRIMES!!! HOW MANY MORE PALS MUST SUFFER & DIE AND FOR HOW MUCH LONGER??????????

15 ) Nizar / Tanzania
19/12/2012 09:33
"The settlements are illegal under international law and Western powers have been especially troubled" Time to drag Israelis to ICC. Let their Western allies tremble in their pants. But we know Abbas may not do that

16 ) @ Colin-13, Julie-14, Nizar-15 / USA too
19/12/2012 15:52
For six decades already, ISRAEL IS A REAL STATE, with real sovereignty, with a thriving $200 Billion GDP, AND NEEDS NO "ROAD going" anywhere !!

The ICC, just like any other court, will require that Palestine provide proof of it's claimed land ownership, before returning any lands to it, and the recent UNGA resolution is NOT a legal deed, and will NOT suffice, but Israel can provide both historic (Biblical Israel/Judea) and present sovereignty !!

17 ) Colin Wright / USA
19/12/2012 21:04
To @ #16: 'For six decades already, ISRAEL IS A REAL STATE, with real sovereignty, with a thriving $200 Billion GDP, AND NEEDS NO "ROAD going" anywhere !! ' That's exactly my point. Without measures such as this, it might be pretty hard to uproot her. However, thanks to Israel frog-marching herself off that cliff...

18 ) Big Mike / USA
20/12/2012 00:36
16 ) if you are referring to the Abrahamic covenant as legal deed not so without Messiah. And if you are referring to the Holy Mount at Jerusalem again not so without the rightful and legal heir to that piece of property as the Son of David that purchased same. God has set it up that way because the Jews always want it their way without Messiah. And that is also why Israel will never have peace without Messiah.

19 ) gabi / australia
20/12/2012 02:34
Someone is, again, impersonating me. I did not write post #3 above. I don't know what you are trying to achieve, but I think everyone knows my views by now - and they don't accord with yours.

20 ) @ Coli-17 / USA too
20/12/2012 05:43
You see "frogs marching themselves off a cliff", and I see things will remain as they are now, with: - ISRAEL THRIVING AND GETTING STRONGER everyday, and - PALESTINE FAILING EVERY BASIC STATNDARD OF STATEHOOD, without sovereignty, without even a single reconciled government, without paying salaries, and without an end to begging for donations. And, most folks would agree the guy seeing "frogs" is hallucinating !!!

21 ) gabi / australia
20/12/2012 11:01
as I said earlier that post at #3 was not posted by me. Some Zionists clearly feel that their side doesn't have enough support, so fabricates more supporters. Similar comments about post #5 doesn't sound like "shirley/Australia" to me. I think people here know by now what both shirley and I think about these issues, so, really, you are wasting your time posting falsehoods. (Did you cheat at your school exams too? Do you lie in your tax returns? Cheat on your spouse?)

22 ) Joe Fattal / USA
21/12/2012 01:44
@16) #1 Today Jews or Hebrews if you want to call them that are not God chosen. The ruling class in Israel today are Ashkenazi Jews not the biblical Hebrews or Jews of the Bible. These imposters that run the country now have nothing to do and have no connection to the land they have stolen and are now subjugating. And #2 And if it is Israel capital Israel waited too long to take Jerusalem as there eternal capital, about 3000 years. They could have claimed it before the war.

23 ) Colin Wright / USA
24/12/2012 03:09
To @ Coli #20 '... I see things will remain as they are now...' Good. I'm glad you do. Then you'll keep playing your part, right?

24 ) Colin Wright / USA
24/12/2012 03:14
to gabi #21 'as I said earlier that post at #3 was not posted by me. Some Zionists clearly feel that their side doesn't have enough support, so fabricates more supporters....' Look on the bright side. Would you ever willingly impersonate a Zionist? What does that suggest?
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