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The Boston Globe


Israeli housing plan heightens tension ahead of talks

Palestinians protest new construction in settlements

JERUSALEM — Israel published bids Sunday for the construction of about 1,000 housing units in contested areas of East Jerusalem and several large West Bank settlements, intensifying the already charged atmosphere three days before the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and hours before Israel was to announce the names of Palestinian prisoners to be released this week.

While the planning and building of settlements have continued in the months preceding the talks, causing constant friction, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new governing coalition had so far refrained from issuing construction bids since it was formed in March. The publishing of bids is the final bureaucratic stage before construction can begin.

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