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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference at his office in Jerusalem, Israel, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015.

    Netanyahu Denies Approving New Construction in West Bank – Office

    © AP Photo / Tsafrir Abayov
    Middle East
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    The Israeli government did not approve building new settlements in the West Bank territories despite media reports, according to a statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office published Thursday.

    TEL AVIV (Sputnik) On Wednesday, Israeli media reported that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon allowed constructing up to 299 housing units in six West Bank settlements occupied by Palestinians.

    "[Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon have not approved new construction as has been published," the statement reads.

    According to Netanyahu’s office, nearly all issued permits are for upgrading existing structures.

    "The small proportion of them pertaining to new construction are for the community of Ganei Modi'in, which abuts the fence and which will be part of Israel in any future agreement," the governmental statement concluded.

    Palestinians have been vying for the recognition of their independent state, proclaimed in 1988, in the territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government refuses to recognize Palestine as an independent political and diplomatic entity, and builds settlements on the occupied areas, despite objections from the United Nations.


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