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New eastern Jerusalem housing approved on eve of Kerry visit

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Jerusalem municipality issued construction permits to build 69 new housing units in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa.

Wednesday’s approval comes a day before the planned arrival of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as he attempts to bring Israel and the Palestinians back to the peace negotiating table.

The housing units are part of a 1,000-housing unit project approved in August 2011 for Har Homa and other nearby communities. Tenders for the project were issued in April 2012.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned the approvals.

“Such behavior proves that the Israeli government is determined to undermine Secretary Kerry’s efforts at every level,” he said, according to The Jerusalem Post.

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