09:44 GMT31 May 2020
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    The Israeli government has denied in a statement the validity of Ministry of Housing (MOH) plans to construct new housing units in Jewish West Bank settlements, media reported Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Monday, the Israeli watchdog Peace Now revealed MOH plans for the construction of 55,548 new residential units in Israeli settlements, with 11,543 of them at the area of Maale Adumim and E1, both of which are located in the occupied West Bank and are one of the most sensitive areas in terms of Palestinian territorial integrity, according to the watchdog, which promotes a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Former Housing Minister Uri Ariel, during whose tenure the plans were conceived, did not have the necessary authorization to plan or build beyond the Green Line, the statement said, according to Lebanese Naharnet online newspaper. The plans are therefore not binding, the statement continued.

    The statement, however, only referred to Ariel's plans for construction in E1, failing to mention other projects, over 25,000 of which have been planned to take shape east of the Israeli West Bank Barrier.

    Construction in the E1 area has been suspended since 2009 due to international pressure. In 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vetoed three MOH construction projects involving E1.

    Over 500,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, according to United Nations figures. The settlements are considered illegal by the United Nations, and West Bank territory is considered occupied territory by the International Court of Justice. The West Bank has been occupied by Israel since 1967.


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