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Israel could double the number of settlers in West Bank

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Israeli authorities plan to build over 73,300 housing units in the Palestinian territories which will see the number of settlers double there, an Israeli left-wing NGO said on Monday.
TEL AVIV, March 2 (RIA Novosti) - Israeli authorities plan to build over 73,300 housing units in the Palestinian territories which will see the number of settlers double there, an Israeli left-wing NGO said on Monday.

Acccording to the report by Peace Now, based on data published on the Israeli housing ministry's website, planning permission to build 15,156 dwellings has been given, while permission for another 58,146 has yet to be approved.

"If all the plans are realized, the number of [Jewish] settlers in the [Palestinian] territories will double - an addition of approx. 300,000 persons, based upon an average of 4 persons in each housing unit," the organization said.

The so-called Road Map settlement plan, proposed by international mediators in the Middle East peace process, requires Israel halt the construction of settlements in occupied Palestinian territories. The ongoing expansion of Israeli settlements has long been a source of contention between Israel and the international community.

A spokesman for Israel's housing ministry told a radio station that all the construction plans were "preliminary projects," which have yet to be approved by Israeli authorities.

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