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Updated: November 8, 2010 20:38 IST

Israel announces new east Jerusalem housing plans

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. File photo: AP.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. File photo: AP.

Israel says it is moving ahead with plans to build 1,300 new apartments in disputed east Jerusalem.

The Interior Ministry’s announcement and its timing could embarrass Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is visiting the U.S. Washington is already frustrated over his refusal to curb settlement construction.

Palestinians condemned the plans. They claim east Jerusalem for a future capital.

The government plans to expand the Har Homa neighborhood by 978 apartments and to build 320 new apartments in the Ramot neighborhood.

Monday’s announcement comes a day after Mr. Netanyahu met with Vice-President Joe Biden. Israel infuriated Mr. Biden early this year by announcing construction plans in east Jerusalem while the vice-president was visiting.

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