(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.
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The statement added that at least 100 of those homes were designated for those evacuated from the Gaza settlement of Netzarim in 2005.
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
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.