Middle East

Israel Draws Ire With New Settlements

Another backward step for peace talks: Israel is planning to build new Jewish settlements in an area of East Jerusalem that much of the international community considers to be Palestinian land. Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians’ main negotiator in the U.S.-backed talks—which have been stalled ever since Israel declined to extend a building moratorium on the West Bank—called the move a “severe blow” to the peace process. While a member of the White House said they were “working to confirm” the story, an Israeli paper today stated that Washington had already been briefed on the matter. The plans would construct 238 houses in East Jerusalem, in an area already populated with Israeli residents.