Israel has invited tenders to build 92 homes in the Maaleh Adumim settlement near Jerusalem where construction plans have already sparked international protest, a settlement watchdog said on Tuesday.
“There is a new tender for 92 housing units in Maaleh Adumim,” Peace Now spokeswoman Hagit Ofran told AFP, saying the invitation to tender -- which was published overnight -- had been approved in October ahead of the U.N. vote on upgrading the Palestinians' status.
The European Union on Monday made a fresh condemnation of Israel for reviving controversial settlement construction plans, particularly between Maaleh Adumim and east Jerusalem, in the wake of the historic successful Palestinian bid.
Ofran said that along with the Maaleh Adumim offer, the government also relaunched two previously unsuccessful tenders, one for eight homes in the southern West Bank settlement of Efrat and another for a commercial building in Har Homa, in Israeli annexed east Jerusalem.
She linked them to January general elections, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing nationalist allies are expected to win.
“This is part of the Netanyahu government’s offensive to try and create before the election as many facts on the ground as possible to create an obstacle to any peace agreement,” she said.