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Reports: Israel plans more housing in disputed areas

Netabyahu April 30, 1997
Web posted at: 6:36 p.m. EDT (2236 GMT)

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel, already criticized for building a Jewish neighborhood on land claimed by Arabs, is considering building hundreds more housing units in another disputed part of Jerusalem, an Israeli newspaper reported Wednesday.

Another newspaper said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government plans to build new roads in the West Bank that would require taking over more Palestinian land. The roads would allow Israelis to bypass Arab towns and villages.

Netanyahu, in a live interview on CNN, did not directly confirm or deny the reports. "We have not decided on the construction of any new settlements," he said during CNN's World Report Conference.icon (479 sec. / 22 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

In Jerusalem, "all building is going on within existing municipal boundaries," he said.

King Hussein of Jordan, who also appeared via satellite from Amman at the conference, called on Israel not to start any new settlements. "Any change on the ground only helps create greater difficulties," he said.icon (611 sec. / 30 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Hussein

In its report, the newspaper Maariv said the Israel Housing Ministry is considering expanding a neighborhood in northern Jerusalem with hundreds -- and perhaps thousands -- of housing units.

The neighborhood is in the part of the city captured from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war.

Meanwhile, the newspaper Haaretz reported that the Defense Ministry was preparing a plan to build new bypass roads in the West Bank at a cost of $1 billion. It said the plan had not yet been approved.

During the interview, Netanyahu also renewed his call for peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. "The peace process is not dead," he said.

Palestine Authority President Yasser Arafat was invited to join Nethanyahu and Hussein but was unable to participate.

 
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