Israel Moves Forward With New Settlements Amid Tensions


(MENAFN- IANS) Jerusalem, March 25 (IANS) The Israeli Land Authority has published tenders for more than 1,000 housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel's anti-settlement watchdog Peace Now said in a statement.

According to the statement released on Friday, the tenders are for 940 houses in the West Bank and nearly 90 in East Jerusalem. They were made public earlier this week, Xinhua news agency reported.

"Despite Israel's commitments to its allies around the world, it appears to continue promoting construction that harms the chances for a political agreement and increases tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in both the short and long term," read the statement released by the organisation, which regularly monitors the construction of Israeli settlements.

The publication of the tenders came amid rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank since January.

Earlier this week, the Israeli parliament repealed a 2005 act that led to the evacuation of four Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, a move that could pave the way for Israeli settlers to return to the abandoned settlements, possibly stoking more tensions.

In the 1967 Middle East war, Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are claimed by the Palestinians. Since then, Israel has populated the area with more than half a million Jewish residents. The international community considers the establishment of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories illegal.

The Palestinians have been seeking to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

--IANS

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