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Turkey condemns Israeli settlement expansion

Aug. 10, 2011 1:19 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 11, 2011 11:57 A.M.)
ANKARA, Turkey (Ma'an) -- Turkey on Tuesday condemned Israel's decision to expand the illegal Har Homa settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Israel's approval of plans to build 900 Jewish-only homes in the occupied city further weakened "the atmosphere of confidence between the parties."

The ministry noted that the construction was approved amid calls by Israel to resume negotiations with the Palestinians.

"We once again call on Israel to act with awareness of its responsibilities stemming from international laws and invite Israel to put an end to its implementations aiming at changing the status of East Jerusalem," the ministry added.

The European Union, US, UK and Japan have also condemned the building plans, which will expand a neighborhood in Jerusalem's southwest that is defined as being within municipal boundaries despite lying directly next to the Palestinian West Bank town of Bethlehem.

The last round of peace talks collapsed within weeks in September 2010 when a partial Israeli ban on settlement building expired.

Israel declined to renew the freeze, which covered the West Bank but not East Jerusalem.

The Palestinians say they will not negotiate while Israel builds Jewish-only settlements on land they want for their future state.
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