Defense Ministry approves new construction in Ariel

Some 100 of the new 277 homes approved to be designated for evacuees of Gaza settlement Netzarim.

Ariel 521 (photo credit: Joanna Paraszczuk)
Ariel 521
(photo credit: Joanna Paraszczuk)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak last week authorized the marketing of 277 new homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, a statement from the Defense Ministry said Monday.
The statement added that at least 100 of those homes were designated for those evacuated from the Gaza settlement of Netzarim in 2005.
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The announcement comes a week after the Interior Ministry approved construction for 1,600 housing unites in Ramat Shlomo, in east Jerusalem.
Those plans stirred criticism from the European Union, Palestinian Authority, and the United States, which argued that unilateral actions by either the Palestinians or Israelis were "counterproductive."
A US State Department official said that because Jerusalem is a "final-status issue," its disposition should "be decided by the parties in the negotiations."
The Prime Minister's Office has defended Israel's right to build in east Jerusalem, claiming that Jerusalem was not a part of the 2010 settlement freeze that Israel agreed to.
The prime minister did not comment on the construction in Ariel, a settlement located in the West Bank with a population of over 17,000.