Israel says U.S. questions settlement move

Israel confirmed on Friday that the United States asked it to explain a plan to build new homes on occupied land in the Jerusalem area, a move Palestinians say could wreck peace talks launched just last week in Washington. A senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said asking for explanations was not enough and demanded that U.S. President George W. Bush’s administration force Israel to abide by an agreement to halt all Jewish settlement activity. “The issue has come up in bilateral discussions,” said Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, after Washington and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon voiced concern at the plan, which came to light days after Bush presided over a deal at Annapolis, Maryland to negotiate a peace treaty. Full Story

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