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Israel moves to build 942 more homes in east Jerusalem in effort to tighten grip on territory


Israeli police cordon off the area next to the site of an attempted attack outside a police station in Jabel Mukaber, in east Jerusalem, Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012. According to Israeli police spokesman and Palestinian sources an Arab taxi driver tried to drive into the police station and was prevented by border policemen who fired shots to stop the vehicle. Both the driver and a police officer were lightly injured in the incident. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Ilean) (The Associated Press)

Israel has advanced a project for 942 more settler homes in east Jerusalem closer to construction as part of a new fast-track plan to tighten its grip on the territory.

Palestinians want to establish a capital in east Jerusalem and say any Israeli construction there undermines their claims.

The Interior Ministry says a government planning committee moved the project to the advanced stage of asking contractors to submit bids to build them.

Once a bid is awarded, construction can begin.

The homes are among some 5,000 new settler homes that Israel moved closer to construction in the past week.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a settlement construction push to punish the Palestinians for winning recognition of a de facto state at the United Nations last month.