Israel Approves New Settlement Construction in West Bank

Hemera/Thinkstock(JERUSALEM) -- One day after the U.N. General Assembly voted to declare Palestine a state, the Israeli government has approved the construction of 3,000 homes on land claimed by Palestinians.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called the move "counterproductive" and said “it makes negotiations harder.”

“We are going to be even-handed in saying we don't want to see provocative action,” Nuland said. “Instead we want to see the parties focused on coming back to the table.”

Haaretz reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Obama at the beginning of his term that he would not build on this stretch of land, where both Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert before Netanyahu had also promised the U.S. they wouldn’t build.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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