28 Dec 2009

Israel plans more Jerusalem settler homes

3:19 pm on 28 December 2009

Israel has invited tenders for the building of hundreds more homes in Jewish settlements in the annexed Arab east Jerusalem, according to news reports.

The independent television station Channel 10 says the housing ministry is seeking bids for the construction of 692 new homes.

East Jerusalem settlements already house about 200,000 Jewish settlers and 270,000 Palestinians.

Israel's continued expansion into the occupied territories is one of the biggest obstacles to the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians, which have now been suspended for a year.

Israel, which captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community, insists the whole city is its "eternal, indivisible" capital.

Palestinians are determined to make the city's eastern sector the capital of their promised state, a goal endorsed earlier this month by the European Union.