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Netanyahu to press ahead with plan to build 3,500 homes for settlers in West Bank

Netanyahu to press ahead with plan to build 3,500 homes for settlers in West Bank

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he was moving forward with a plan to build some 3,500 homes for Jewish settlers on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

“I have given instructions to immediately publish for deposit the plan to build 3,500 housing units in E-1,” Netanyahu said. He referred to a preliminary stage of the project which had been delayed for six and a half years after international criticism.

Opponents of the construction plan for the E-1 area in the West Bank had cautioned that Israeli housing in the corridor’s barren hills could bisect the West Bank, cut off Palestinians from Jerusalem and further dim their hopes for a contiguous state, Reuters said.

The E-1 plan would expand the large Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, effectively connecting it to Jerusalem, which is presently about a 15-minute drive away.

Netanyahu’s statement came 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.