Israel to build new settlements in West Bank

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Israel announced Sunday that it plans to build several hundred new housing facilities in the occupied West Bank, days after several Israelis were killed in an attack on Friday.

According to officials, a meeting on Saturday of a government committee resulted in the decision to build up to 500 new housing units, all within existing settlements. The new buildings are to be constructed in areas that Israel expects to retain control of in the event of any potential peace accord with Palestine.

A Palestinian spokesperson said that Israel's decision was "wrong and unacceptable and will only create problems." The building of settlements by Israel is widely criticized; in February fourteen of the fifteen United Nations Security Council members, with the US the only exception, supported a resolution that would demand Israel stop further construction.

The announcement of the new buildings came days after five Israelis were stabbed to death on Friday night, in an attack suspected to be of Palestinian origin. In response to the attack, residents of the area had asked the Israeli government to build new housing facilities.

The attacks were referenced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said in a statement that he had "noticed that several countries that always hasten to the U.N. Security Council in order to condemn Israel, the state of the Jews, for planning a house in some locality, or for laying some tiles somewhere, have been dilatory in sharply condemning the murder of Jewish infants."

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