Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu lays cornerstone for new homes in West Bank

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday laid the cornerstone for hundreds of new homes for Jewish settlers in the West Bank and pledged to build more.

Netanyahu attended a ceremony to inaugurate the construction of 650 new housing units in a new neighbourhood of Beit El, a settlement north of Ramallah.

He vowed that his government will build more homes in the settlements.

“Our mission is to establish the Jewish people on their land and to ensure our sovereignty in our historical homeland,” he said, referring to both Israel and the occupied West Bank.

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Some 600,000 Israelis now live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in heavily guarded settlements along with about 2.9 million Palestinians, according to Israeli figures.

The Palestinians have been seeking to establish an independent state along the 1967 border with East Jerusalem as its capital.