New construction announced for eastern Jerusalem


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel issued tenders to build hundreds of new apartments in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Israel’s Construction and Housing Ministry on Tuesday reportedly published tenders for 632 units in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa; 180 units in Givat Zeev, located to the north of Jerusalem in the West Bank; and 69 in Katzrin on the Golan Heights.

A ministry spokesman told the French news agency AFP that the tenders are not new, although anti-settlement activists said it was the first time the orders were made public.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that he will submit a plan to legalize several West Bank outposts and avoid the demolition of another. At a Cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said he asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to "find a solution" for the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El "that would obviate the need for demolition." The government had previously agreed to evacuate the illegal outpost by May.

Netanyahu also told the ministers that he will submit, with the recommendation of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, a plan to legalize the outposts of Bruchin, Sansana and Rechalim, which are said to be built on private Palestinian land.

"We are strengthening Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and we are strengthening the Jewish community in Hebron, the City of the Patriarchs," Netanyahu said, according to the Government Press Office. "But there is one principle that we uphold. We do everything according to the law and we will continue to do so.”

The announcement came as Jewish settlers who last week occupied a house in Hebron near the Cave of the Patriarch were evacuated by Israeli security forces.

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