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Occupied Territories: Housing

Volume 493: debated on Thursday 4 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the expansion of settlements in the West Bank; and if he will make a statement. (277207)

Settlement expansion is a major obstacle to peace. We receive regular reports, including from the Israeli non-governmental organisation Peace Now. During 2008, Peace Now reported that the West Bank settler population increased 15,000 to 285,000. They report that there are plans for at least 73,300 additional housing units in the West Bank.

We are also deeply concerned about any changes to the character of East Jerusalem.

I raised this issue during my meeting with Foreign Minister Lieberman and in my statement to the UN Security Council on 11 May 2009. We will continue to press the Israeli Government to freeze all such activity.