Israel okays new West Bank settlement construction

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JERUSALEM — Israel approved the construction of 3,000 homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, a government official said today, in what appeared to be a defiant response to the Palestinians’ successful United Nations recognition bid.

The Palestinians said Israel’s settlement expansion on war-won land was making a partition deal increasingly difficult.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has refused to negotiate with Israeli while settlement construction continues in occupied territories.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said negotiations must begin without preconditions.

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