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Wed 13 Feb 2008 02:13 AM

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Israel to build Arab city

Galilee project will be the first new town for Arab residents since establishment of Jewish state in 1948.

Israel has started to plan the building of a new city for Arab residents, the first since the Jewish state was established in 1948, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit said on Tuesday.

"I aspire to create a new Arab city in the Galilee and I am working on the planning for the project," said Sheetrit, a minister from the centrist Kadima party of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

He announced the project during a visit to the northern Arab town of Umm Al-Fahm.

Israel's Arabs, who account for 1.2 million of its seven million residents, are the descendants of the 160,000 Palestinians who remained in the Jewish state after the 1948 war when hundreds of thousands of others fled.

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