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Israel pushes ahead with settlement expansion

By Mike Schwartz, CNN
June 13, 2013 -- Updated 0950 GMT (1750 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hundreds of new homes will be built on the Israeli occupied West Bank
  • Some are already completed

Jerusalem (CNN) -- The expansion of Jewish settlements on the West Bank has been a lasting thorn in the side of Palestinians.

That spine grew longer Thursday, when Israel announced it will finish construction of 675 new settlement homes on the West Bank. The project includes 137 houses, which have already been built in the settlement of Itamar.

The housing units are part of an old agreement and not a new plan, prime minister spokesman Mark Regev has said.

But there are also new plans to add an additional 550 homes to the settlement in Bruchin.

The public has a 60 day period to object to them, and the plans then need to pass through a process of authorization.

Critics say that the expansion of settlements on the West Bank is altering the map of the Palestinian territories, making it more difficult to draw a contiguous Palestinian state as part of any peace agreement.

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