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Report Slams Israeli Claim of Settlement Freeze

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Purveyor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 01:33 PM
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Report Slams Israeli Claim of Settlement Freeze
By Robert Berger
Jerusalem
23 August 2009

Israel is under fire again for alleged settlement expansion, this time in a report by an Israeli watchdog group. The settlers are crying foul.

Israel's dovish Peace Now movement denies claims by the right-wing Israeli government that it has imposed a partial settlement freeze in the West Bank. Last week, Israel won praise from U.S. President Barack Obama when it said it has not approved any new housing projects in the West Bank since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took office five months ago.

Peace Now chairman Yariv Openheimer says Israel is trying to fool the United States, which sees settlement expansion as an obstacle to peace.

"Our report shows that the construction in the settlements never stopped and this is not a settlement freeze," Matar said.

Openheimer says that while new projects are on hold, settlers can easily build thousands of apartments and homes based on old plans that have already been approved. There is existing permission for the construction of up to 40,000 housing units, according to Peace Now, and construction on 600 began this year.

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VOA: http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-08-23-voa4.cfm
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