Sign in to comment!



As Mideast talks stumble, Israel advances on settlement housing in east Jerusalem, group says


Women hold portraits of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails during a rally calling for their release in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Arabic on the posters read, "Dean of prisoners, Karim Younis, 21 years in prison." (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed) (The Associated Press)

A settlement watchdog group says Israel is pushing forward with plans to build more than 700 homes in a Jewish enclave of east Jerusalem.

The move could present another obstacle in the deeply troubled Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Hagit Ofran from Peace Now says Israel renewed a call for contractor bids to build the homes this week.

Ofran said Wednesday that Israel's reissuing of 708 tenders was meant to "make problems" in the faltering Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Her remarks came a day after U.S. efforts to extend Mideast negotiations hit a snag when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas resumed a campaign for further international recognition of a state of Palestine, despite a promise to suspend such efforts.

Shortly after Abbas' announcement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry cancelled plans to return to the region.