09:46 GMT +321 February 2018
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    Israeli Interior Ministry approves construction of 1,600 new homes in Jerusalem

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    The Israeli Interior Ministry gave final approval for the construction of 1,600 single-family homes and apartments for Jewish families in East Jerusalem and plans to authorize the construction of another 2,700 housing units.

    The Israeli Interior Ministry gave final approval for the construction of 1,600 single-family homes and apartments for Jewish families in East Jerusalem and plans to authorize the construction of another 2,700 housing units.

    Construction in the occupied territories is one of the main obstacles for the resumption of Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations. It is also one of the major irritants in relations between Israel and the international community.

    "The plan to build 2,700 housing units in East Jerusalem will be approved by the Interior Ministry no later than next week," Interior Ministry spokesman Roi Lahmanovich told RIA Novosti.

    Israel's refusal to prolong its moratorium on the construction of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories saw Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas withdraw from direct negotiations with Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu in September last year. The talks, which came to a halt just a few weeks after they resumed in Washington following a 20-month break, yielded no results as both sides showed an unwillingness to compromise.

    In December last year, the United States withdrew its calls for Israel to extend the moratorium on settlement construction.

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