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Japan condemns Israeli settlement plans

Aug. 8, 2011 4:30 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 8, 2011 5:21 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Japanese government expressed its "disappointment" on Monday at recent Israeli plans to build 900 homes in Har Homa settlement, a statement said.

"The Government of Japan does not recognize any act that prejudges the final status of the territories in the pre-1967 borders, and Israeli settlement activities should be fully frozen.

"Japan strongly calls upon Israel to refrain from any unilateral act that changes the current situation in East Jerusalem."

The government of Japan "strongly hopes" that peace talks will be resumed soon, the statement added.

Israel's settlement construction is a major obstacle to peace talks.

More than 300,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank and another 200,000 live in settlements in East Jerusalem, which is also home to some 270,000 Palestinians.

Israel has occupied the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem since 1967.
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