Watchdog group: Israel increased settlement work four-fold during recent round of peace talks

An Israeli watchdog group says Israel increased settlement work four-fold during the latest round of peace talks, pushing forward with construction of nearly 14,000 new homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Peace Now issued its statistics on Tuesday as a nine-month negotiating period came to a close.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had envisioned a final peace agreement when he brought the sides together last July. But negotiations made no progress and were characterized by a lack of trust, in large part because of continued Israeli settlement construction in captured territories claimed by the Palestinians.

According to Peace Now, Israel promoted plans or issued tenders for construction of 13,851 homes during the talks. It said the level of construction quadrupled compared to recent years.