Israel moves ahead building of 1,200 settler homes

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JERUSALEM — Israel said today that it was pushing forward with construction of more than 1,200 new homes in Jewish settlements, in an apparent warning to the Palestinians to rethink their plan to ask the United Nations to recognize an independent state of Palestine.

The government announced late Monday that it was accepting bids from contractors to build the homes in two Jewish enclaves in east Jerusalem, Ramot and Pisgat Zeev. The homes are among 1,200 whose construction Israel ordered fast-tracked in November 2011 after a key U.N. body granted full membership to Palestine.

While construction would take months to begin, officials indicated that the timing of the tenders was meant to signal to the Palestinians that they should consider the possible consequences of their plan to ask the U.N. General Assembly later this month to upgrade their status to non-member observer state.

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