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UK minister condemns expansion of Har Homa settlement

Aug. 8, 2011 1:57 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 8, 2011 1:57 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The UK foreign office minister for the Middle East said Monday that Israel's approval of 900 new housing units in a settlement near Jerusalem was "deeply concerning."

Israel's interior ministry announced plans on Thursday to expand Har Homa settlement.

The hilltop settlement is strategically located between Bethlehem and Jerusalem, preventing contiguity between the the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians want as the capital of their future state.

In a statement, British minister Alistair Burt condemned the move, saying "unilateral actions such as this undermine international efforts to build lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians and make the two-state solution harder to achieve."

Burt expressed concern at the timing of the announcement, coming "at a time when Israel’s friends are working to restart negotiations."
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