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Fearing outrage, Israel halts housing project in disputed area
Wednesday November 13, 2013 9:05 AM, IANS

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday cancelled a tender published by the housing ministry to build 1,200 housing units in the controversial "E1" territorial stretch, an official source said.

The ministry had recently published tenders for thousands of housing units in the West Bank and east Jerusalem territories, Xinhua reported.

According to Ha'aretz daily, the plans also include 1,200 housing units in the disputed area, which connects the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Adumim with Jerusalem.

Netanyahu called upon the ministry officials to cancel the problematic tender, the source said.

"There is no need to pay international prices for a process that does not have great significance," Netanyahu said.

Israel's construction in "E1" is more controversial than in other territories it annexed in the 1967 war, since the territorial stretch forms a corridor and if it is filled with Israeli settlements, it will block a possible formation of a future Palestinian state in the West Bank.

The last time Israel declared its intention to build in "E1" was in December 2012. Both the US and the European Union harshly criticised Israel's plan and US officials called it "a pattern of provocative action".

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