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Builders at work in West Bank settlements

Builders at work in West Bank settlements
Palestinians use heavy equipment to prepare the infrastructure for new housing in the Jewish settlement Har Homa, south of Jerusalem, September 26, 2010. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said direct talks with the Israelis will stop if Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not extend the 10-month West Bank settlement construction freeze which is due to expire at midnight tonight. UPI/Debbie Hill | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Hours after the freeze on West Bank settlement construction expired, bulldozers began leveling the ground for a new neighborhood in the city of Ariel.

Itzik Vazana, an evacuee from Gush Katif, said the new neighborhood will house evacuees forced out of Gush Katif in 2005, when thousands of Jewish settlers were forced to leave their homes in a unilateral withdrawal, Ynetnews.com said Monday.

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"We are here by right and not on sufferance,"Vazana said.

Referring to Israel's current peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Vazana declared, "The Green Line (1967 border) is virtual and political. As evidence, you can see that the other side is not even capable of saying the words: a Jewish nation state. These talks are just a show waiting to collapse."

Work also resumed in the West Bank settlements of Revava, Yakir and Kohav Hashahar, Haaretz reported.

On Tuesday, construction will begin in the settlements of Shavei Shomron, Adam, Oranit, Sha'arei Tikva, Kedumim and Karmei Tzur, the newspaper said. A cornerstone ceremony to mark a new neighborhood in the settlement of Beit Haggai is also planned in the coming days, it said.

Next week, leaders of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza intend to step up pressure and demand that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu approve additional construction, the newspaper said.

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