Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Kerry heads to Paris for new round of Gaza peace talks

    Read more

  • Video: No investigation apparent at site of downed Malaysian plane

    Read more

  • Washington Post correspondent and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Middle east

Israel approves 50 new housing units in West Bank settlement

Video by Aurore Cloé DUPUIS

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-30

Israel has approved the construction of 50 new settlement homes in the West Bank, despite US calls to halt settlement activity. PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would not build new settlements, but that he would not halt ongoing ones either.

AFP - Israel has approved the construction of 50 new housing units in a settlement in the occupied West Bank, army radio reported Monday, despite weeks of pressure from its closest ally Washington.
   
The decision to build the houses in the Adam settlement north of Jerusalem comes despite repeated calls from the United States for Israel to halt all settlement activity in order to relaunch peace talks with the Palestinians.
   
The houses will be built for the relocation of some 200 settlers living in nearby Migron, one of the largest of the so-called outpost settlements, which are illegal under Israeli law, army radio reported.
   
But the 50 houses would be part of a larger project to build about 1,450 new housing units in the settlement, it added.
   
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his right-wing government will not build new settlements in the occupied territories but will not halt the so-called "natural growth" of existing settlements.
   
That position has put Israel on a collision course with US President Barack Obama's administration, which has demanded a complete halt to settlements and vowed to vigorously pursue the Middle East peace process.
   
The decision came shortly before Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak was to fly to New York to meet with US Middle East envoy George Mitchell on Tuesday, after a meeting between Mitchell and Netanyahu was cancelled last week.
   
On Sunday, Israeli media reported that Barak planned to offer a three-month building freeze in the settlements, excluding existing projects that are nearing completion, as a compromise to the White House demands.
   
Barak declined to confirm or deny such a plan, telling reporters that the issue "hasn't been fully finalised yet" and that settlements were one of several topics he planned to discuss with the US envoy.
   
The possible freeze would not apply to settlements in mostly Arab east Jerusalem, which Israel occupied and annexed in 1967 and which the Palestinians have demanded as the capital of their future state.
   
It would also not cover some 2,000 buildings in West Bank settlement blocs that are currently at an advanced stage of construction, mainly public buildings, Israel's mass-selling Yediot Aharonot newspaper reported on Sunday.
   
The paper recently reported that about 3,200 new housing units were under construction in the West Bank at the end of 2008.
   
The presence of more than 280,000 Israelis in over 100 settlements scattered across the West Bank has long been one of the thorniest issues in the decades-old conflict.
   
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has said he will not hold any talks with Israel until it halts all settlement activity, which the Palestinians say endangers the viability of their future state.
   
The international community considers all settlements built on land occupied in the 1967 Six Day war to be illegal, and last week the Group of Eight and the Middle East diplomatic Quartet -- the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and Russia -- called for a complete settlement freeze.

Date created : 2009-06-29

COMMENT(S)