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Thursday
Aug112011

Israel Approves Housing Plans Despite Palestinian Disapproval

AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Last week, Israel approved plans to build over 900 new housing units in East Jerusalem, and both the U.S. State Department and the Palestinians expressed their disapproval.

On Thursday, more housing was announced in what is sure to make the chances for renewing peace talks even more remote.  Housing is a central issue in Israel's growing protest movement, but it's dominated by calls for more housing with Israel's green line, not in the settlements.  

Israel has authorized plans to build 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem. This is the same project that was put on hold after its initial announcement during Vice President Joe Biden's visit here in 2009 caused a diplomatic storm in Washington.  The government says it will approve another 2,700 housing units in the disputed area in the coming days.  

The move is certain to anger Palestinian leaders and complicate U.S. efforts to persuade them to give up their plans to ask the U.N. for statehood in September.

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