Israel approves 90 new homes in contested West Bank area

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Israel gave the final go-ahead on Monday for construction of 90 new homes in contested and occupied areas of the West Bank — a move sure to ratchet up emotions in the White House, which has pleaded for a peaceful resolution in the settlement dispute.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated publicly on several occasions that 300 homes will be built in Beit El, over the objections of Palestinians who see the construction as an infringement on their territory and an international community that’s already concerned with the hotbed in the Middle East. Israel has claimed ownership of the land since 1967.

The new homes will provide for educational officials, said one Defense Ministry official, in a Reuters report. Reuters reports more than325,000 settlers living now in the West Bank and another 200,000 living in East Jerusalem.

The approval for the 90 homes comes at a time when President Obama will be making his first trip to Israel.

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