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Reports: East Jerusalem has no housing starts; West Bank's rising

June 10, 2013 at 7:12 AM

JERUSALEM, June 10 (UPI) -- East Jerusalem has had no housing starts this year and may be under a construction freeze, sources told Army Radio. West Bank starts are up sharply.

The East Jerusalem report was based on information from sources in the Ministry of Housing and other agencies, Army Radio said Monday.

The sources said Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had prevented housing plans in East Jerusalem from moving forward.

The radio report came a day after the Central Bureau of Statistics issued a report stating that housing starts in West Bank settlements had risen to 865 in the first three months of this year from 313 for the same period last year, a 176 percent increase.

The CBS report also said the number of finished homes in West Bank settlements for the same period had declined, with 251 for the first three months of this year compared with 310 for a similar period in 2012.

Israel's Channel 2 said most building starts occurred in settlement blocs that are likely to remain in any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

Responding to the CBS report, Peace Now, which monitors West Bank settlement building, said as long as there is no full construction freeze, settlements will continue to grow.

"A government committed to peace would not allow nor continue to build settlements, which inevitably harms the chances for peace," a Peace Now statement said.

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