Israel plans more housing in West Bank's settlement

Updated: 2013-06-13 20:50


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JERUSALEM/GAZA -- Israel is putting forward a plan to build 500 new housing units in the Jewish settlement of Bruchin in the West Bank, a move Palestinian officials blamed for "destroying US Secretary of State John Kerry's efforts to revive peace talks."

The plan was submitted this week to the Civil Administration, an Israeli governmental body controlling the West Bank territories, as part of its formal approval process, according to an official document of the Civil Administration obtained by Xinhua Thursday.

Under the plan, 500 new housing units will be built in Bruchin, established in 1999, near the Palestinian town of Salfit and 50 existing houses in the settlement will be approved retrospectively.

Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, slammed the move Thursday, saying "The Israeli government is fully responsible for destroying (US) Secretary of State John Kerry's mission by imposing new facts on the ground."

In addition to continuing the settlement construction, the settlers step up their attacks against Palestinian residents in the West Bank, Erekat told Xinhua.

He called on the U.S. administration to intervene and press Israel to stop the construction.

U.S. President Barack Obama assigned Kerry to work on reviving the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which came to a full halt in 2010 due to Israel's refusal to freeze settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, where Palestinians hope to build their own state.

A freeze on settlement construction is a precondition set by the Palestinians for the resumption of the talks.