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Israel approves settlement homes in East Jersualem

Tension is escalating here in East Jerusalem as Israel moves forward with new settlements. Israel gave preliminary approval Monday to build an additional 1,500 homes in the ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood Ramat Shlomo. A spokesman for the West Bank's Palestinian leaders, Fatah, says the constructions are illegal. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) AHMAD ASSAF, FATAH SPOKESMAN, SAYING: "These Israeli decisions are not only a violation of international law but also war crimes against the Palestinian people and land. These Israeli decisions are illegitimate, we will stand against these Israeli decisions and we will stay on our Palestinian land." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also vowed last week to build 3,000 more settler homes on occupied West Bank land in response to a U.N. vote last month granting the Palestinian Authority observer state status. Fatah and some international powers have called for Netanyahu's government to freeze settlement building so that peace talks with the Palestinians can resume. The International Court of Justice in The Hague has ruled the settlements illegal, a decision Israel disputes.

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