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Israel to build housing in West Bank

Story highlights

  • Israel is building 851 new units, housing minister announces
  • The United States condemns the move as undermining peace efforts
  • Israel's move comes after a court orders the demolition of 30 apartments

Israel announced it will construct 851 housing units in the West Bank, a move the United States immediately said "undermines peace efforts."

Minister of Housing Ariel Atlas said Israel would break ground for 551 housing units in the West Bank and build 300 new apartments. All are in existing settlements.

The move comes after a court ruling that five buildings containing 30 apartments must be destroyed in Beit El because they are built on private Palestinian land.

"Although 30 apartments will be emptied, 851 will be built in their place, which is a reasonable solution," Atlas said Wednesday.

He said the new units are to help young Israelis build in the West Bank.

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State Department spokesman Mark Toner condemned the announcement the same day.

"Continued Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank undermines peace efforts and contradicts Israeli commitments and obligations," he said during the daily State Department briefing.

"We do not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity. And we want to see these parties -- both parties, rather -- refrain from these kinds of actions and to get back into negotiations," he said.

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