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Middle East

Israel to build wall along Jordanian border

Decision to build border fence coincides with approval of construction of almost 2,000 settler homes in occupied areas.

Last Modified: 03 Nov 2013 15:57
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Report said Netanyahu will have construction started after completion of the fence on the Egyptian border [Reuters]

Israeli government has decided to build a security fence on the the border with Jordan, a report said, angering Palestinians ahead of talks with US Secretary of State.

The report published on Sunday by Israeli newspaper Maariv said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will have the construction started "immediately upon the completion of the fence on the Egyptian border".

A spokesman for Netanyahu refused to provide details on the plan to "strengthen barriers" or comment on the Maariv report, which was picked up by the official Palestinian Wafa news agency.

The spokesman of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced the reported plans.

"The Israeli premier's statements on building a wall in the Jordan Valley is only a proactive step to foil (US State) Secretary (John) Kerry's visit," Nabil Abu Rudeina told Wafa.

More settlers' homes

Israel also issued tenders on Sunday to build 1,859 more settlers' homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, settlement watchdog Peace Now told AFP news agency.

The organisation said that 1,031 plots were offered by Israel's housing and construction ministry in the occupied West Bank and 828 in annexed East Jerusalem.

The successful bidders would be able to start construction shortly, the watchdog said.

"Within a few months they will choose the winning bids and the successful contractors will be able to start building within a number of weeks (after that)," the group's Hagit Ofran said.

The move angered the Palestinians who threatened on Sunday to go to the United Nations Security Council over the issue.

"The PLO is considering a mechanism to go the Security Council and the UN against these new Israeli decisions, especially as there are international resolutions that consider settlements illegal," Wassel Abu Youssef, Palestine Liberation Organisation senior member, told AFP.

The latest developments came ahead of Kerry's separate meetings with Netanyahu and Abbas on Wednesday that aims to push the two sides towards peace talks.

Palestinians have accused Israel in derailing the negotiations with its settlement plans.

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