Israel stands firm amid criticism over settlement plans

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Associated Press

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Updated Monday, Dec 3 at 5:04 PM

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is vowing to push ahead with the construction of thousands of new homes in West Bank settlements, despite a wave of condemnations from the U.S. and Europe.

Last week's U.N. decision to recognize a Palestinian state may be fueling a tougher stand around the world against Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem.

In Washington, a State Department spokesman said the planned settlement construction is "especially damaging" to prospects for resuming peace talks.

In Europe, Israeli ambassadors were summoned for consultations in five capitals, and officials are warning of other potential measures against Israel.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is showing no signs of backing down. His office says Israel will continue to stand up for its interests "even in the face of international pressure."

Israel's announcement last week that it would build the new homes in the Jewish settlements came hours after the U.N. vote, in which the General Assembly overwhelmingly recognized a Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

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238-a-08-(Mark Toner, State Department spokesman, at news conference)-"resume direct negotiations"-State Department spokesman Mark Toner says Israel's new settlement construction plans don't help the peace process. (3 Dec 2012)

<<CUT *238 (12/03/12)>> 00:08 "resume direct negotiations"

239-a-11-(Mark Toner, State Department spokesman, at news conference)-"want to see"-State Department spokesman Mark Toner says the U.S. will take both Israel and the Palestinians to task for actions that don't help the peace process. (3 Dec 2012)

<<CUT *239 (12/03/12)>> 00:11 "want to see"

APPHOTO SEB105: FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 file photo, Israeli police headquarters is seen in the E-1 construction site near the West bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem. On Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 Three European nations summoned their Israeli ambassadors to denounce Israel's latest settlement construction push, deepening the rift between the Jewish state and European allies that has cracked open over the Palestinians' successful U.N. statehood bid. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File) (1 Jan 2000)

<<APPHOTO SEB105 (01/01/00)>>

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