Israel To Build 300 Units In Jewish Settlement In East Jerusalem, Complicating Kerry Efforts
By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, May 30, 3:36 PM
JERUSALEM — Israel’s Housing Ministry said Thursday it has given the final go-ahead for the construction of 300 new homes in a Jewish settlement in east Jerusalem, complicating the mission of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to renew Mideast peace talks.
The announcement came less than a week after Kerry urged Israel to avoid “provocative” actions during a visit to the region. A U.S. State Department spokeswoman described the move as “counterproductive.”
Palestinian officials immediately accused Israel of undermining the U.S. mediation efforts.
The issue of Jewish settlements has been at the heart of a nearly five-year impasse in peace efforts. Negotiations broke down in late 2008 and have remained stalled since then.
The Palestinians say they will not return to negotiations until Israel stops building settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, areas they claim for a future state. Israel, which captured both areas in the 1967 Mideast war, says talks should resume without any conditions.