Israel to construct new housing units in sensitive east Jerusalem neighborhood

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Israel is moving forward on the construction of hundreds of new homes for Jewish residents in a sensitive east Jerusalem neighborhood, the country’s Housing Ministry and a settlement watchdog group said Sunday.

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The Housing Ministry on Sunday opened up tenders for more than 1,200 new homes in the Givat Hamatos area of Jerusalem. The settlement watchdog group Peace Now and other critics say construction there would seal off the Palestinian city of Bethlehem from east Jerusalem, further cutting off access for the Palestinians to the eastern sector of the city, which they claim as capital of their hoped-for state.

The move may test ties with the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to take a firmer tack against Israeli settlement expansion after four years of a more lenient policy under President Donald Trump.

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