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PLO envoys to US say settler build increase 'alarming'

Jan. 13, 2012 1:06 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 14, 2012 9:58 A.M.)
WASHINGTON (Ma'an) -- The PLO delegation to the US said on Thursday that Israel's increase in settlement construction during 2011 is "alarming", and urged the US administration to hold Israel to its international commitments.

Last week, a report by Israeli group Peace Now showed construction of illegal settler homes grew 20 percent during the year. The Palestinian Liberation Organization envoys said the rise was "political deception at its core."

Accelerating settlement expansion shows Israel's "peace rhetoric is nothing more than a thin veil to their true intentions with regards to establishing a viable, fully sovereign Palestinian state," the PLO delegation said in a statement.

"These alarming findings demonstrate that the Palestinian objections to resuming talks without a settlement freeze were genuine and well founded; they were not red herrings as pro-Israel apologists in the US claimed."

PLO officials have held two rounds of talks with Israeli representatives in Amman during January, but say they will not return to full negotiations until Israel halts building settlements on Palestinian lands.
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