Palestinians blast reports of new homes

Palestinians blasted Israel’s reported approval of hundreds of new homes in West Bank settlements.

Palestinian Authority officials told Israel Radio that a report in Friday’s Ha’aretz that Defense Minister Ehud Barak had approved hundreds of new homes and projects in the West Bank suggested that Israel was intent on scuttling peace talks.

The United States steadfastly opposes any expansion outside of those needed to accommodate "natural growth" of families in the settlements.

Most of the new homes are in areas Israel hopes to exchange for patches of desert adjacent to the Gaza Strip in a final status arrangement, but some of the approvals are in areas that Israel has indicated that it is willing to evacuate as part of a peace deal.

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