Israel announces construction plans in Jerusalem, West Bank

The plan includes the construction of 500 homes in the Jewish settlement of Har Homa, above, in southern Jerusalem.

Story highlights

  • Palestinians claim land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank as a future capital
  • The new construction comes after Palestinians' successful UNESCO bid
  • Israel says the homes will be in areas that will be part of Israeli territory in a future peace deal
Israel's Construction and Housing Ministry announced Sunday plans to build 1,000 new homes in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Ariel Rosenberg, a spokesman and media adviser for the ministry, told CNN the tender for the new housing units in Jerusalem and the West Bank was published following an earlier government decision in November to speed up construction, and was part of what he described as "an answer to the Palestinian unilateral moves at the U.N."
The Israeli government announced November 1 it was expediting construction of 2,000 housing units in East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank and suspending the transfer of Palestinian tax revenue in wake of the Palestinian Authority's successful membership bid at UNESCO, the U.N. cultural, science, and education agency.
The tender published Sunday includes a plan to build 180 new homes in the north Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Zeev and 500 homes in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Homa, both built outside the 1967 borders. An additional 348 new units are planned for the West Bank settlement of Beitar Ilit.
The new plans are a part of a periodic tender published by the Israeli government and also include 5,000 additional new housing units within Israeli borders.
The construction announced in early November will take place in areas that are expected to be part of Israeli territory in any future peace agreement, a senior Israeli official said at the time, and there is no contradiction between it and the various peace plans that have been on the table.
Palestinians claim the land Israel occupied in East Jerusalem and the West Bank after the 1967 war as part of a future Palestinian state.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has said repeatedly that the Palestinians will not return to negotiations until Israel halts all settlement construction and accepts the borders in place before the 1967 Six Day War.
Israel, for its part, has maintained that negotiations should begin with no preconditions.