Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said he was moving forward with a plan to build some 3,500 homes for Jewish settlers in one the most sensitive areas of the occupied West Bank, a project frozen after international criticism.
They added that it can cut off Palestinians from Jerusalem and further dim their hopes for a contiguous state.
“I have given instructions to immediately publish for deposit the plan to build 3,500 housing units in E-1,” Netanyahu said, using an administrative term for the first phase of a planning process.
He said in a speech, six days before a national election in which the right-wing Likud party leader is seeking to shore up backing from settlers and their supporters that it had been delayed for six or seven years.
The E-1 plan would expand the large Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, effectively connecting it to Jerusalem, about a 15-minute drive away.
However, the U.S. and Israel dispute this.
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