Israel presses on with contentious settlement plan

Associated Press
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, center, attends a meeting of the Palestinian leadership at his compound in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, Dec 4, 2012.  Israel’s latest settlement plans will destroy any lingering hopes of setting up a Palestinian state next to Israel, a senior Palestinian official warned Tuesday, as international anger over such construction snowballed. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

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JERUSALEM (AP) — An Israeli military planning committee has unveiled plans for a contentious new West Bank settlement outside Jerusalem, pressing forward with the project in the face of heavy international pressure.

The military says the plans to develop the area known as "E1" were formally presented at Wednesday's meeting. There is now a 60-day period for public objections.

The project envisions construction of 3,000 new homes in a strategic corridor near Jerusalem. Construction would be years away.

Israel had frozen E-1 construction plans under pressure from successive U.S. administrations.

Israel's government revived them last week, after the U.N. General Assembly accepted Palestine as a non-member observer state.

The Palestinians say construction in that area would cut Jerusalem off from the West bank and essentially kill any chance for a future state.

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