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Israelis, Palestinians Face Off

March 18, 1997|Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israeli army snipers took up positions and Palestinian protesters erected tents Monday, eyeing each other suspiciously on a hill in disputed East Jerusalem where Israel plans to build 6,500 apartments for Jews.

Both sides were waiting for Israel's government to give the order for construction to begin. An official said surveyors will be sent to the site today, with groundbreaking likely Wednesday.

"The surveyors will go there tomorrow," David Bar-Illan, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said. "Bulldozers and tractors will probably come a day later" to the hilltop, he said.

Netanyahu is determined to go ahead with the controversial project. The Palestinians, who claim East Jerusalem as their future capital, have warned that they will block the bulldozers--with their bodies, if necessary.

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