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Israel says it will build in West Bank

on January 10, 2014 10:00 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel says it plans to build 1,400 new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territory the Palestinians claim for their state.

Israel’s housing ministry announced that 800 new houses will be built in the West Bank and 600 in east Jerusalem.

Today’s announcement had been expected after Israel released 26 long-serving Palestinian prisoners in late December, part of a deal made last summer when Israeli-Palestinian peace talks resumed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously issued similar construction announcements to blunt hard-line criticism at home of prisoner releases as many of those released were convicted of killing Israeli civilians and soldiers.

This time, the announcement was apparently postponed for after a visit by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in the region last week.

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