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Israel moves ahead with plans for some 3,000 settler homes

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By Reuters

<div> <p><span class="caps">JERUSALEM</span> -Israel moved forward on Wednesday with plans to build some 3,000 homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, projects that have drawn strong criticism from its U.S. ally.</p> <p>An Israeli defence official said a planning forum of Israel’s liaison office with the Palestinians gave preliminary approval for plans to build 1,344 housing units and its final go-ahead for projects to construct 1,800 homes.</p> <p>The United States had already voiced strong opposition to the plans to advance the settlement units in the West Bank, saying such moves would damage prospects of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.</p> <p>Ahead of the planning committee’s meeting, Israel on Sunday published tenders for about 1,300 new settlement homes in the West Bank, where some 440,000 settlers live among 3 million Palestinians.</p> <p>Israel captured the West Bank in a 1967 war and cites biblical, historical and political links to the area in maintaining that Jews have a right to live there. Palestinians seek a future state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital.</p> </div>