srael has taken steps to build housing in a controversial area of East Jerusalem known as E1, which would connect the large settlement of Maale Adumim to Jerusalem and make it impossible to connect the Palestinian cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem to Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. The decision to move forward with the plan came Thursday night as the U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to upgrade the Palestinians' status to non-member observer state. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office refused to comment on whether the move was punishment for the Palestinians' success in obtaining the new status, but it is widely seen as such.
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