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Germany to Israel: Stop Building New Settlements


"...urgently calls on the Israeli government to refrain."

BERLIN (AP) -- A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel says Germany is urging Israel to refrain from constructing new settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Georg Streiter said Monday Israel's recent announcement that it would seek contractors to build some 1,000 apartments in both areas conveys "a devastating message with regard to the current efforts to resume peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians."

He says Germany "urgently calls on the Israeli government to refrain from inviting bids for the apartments."

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been frozen for three years, in part because of continued Israeli settlement construction in the territories captured by Israel in 1967 and still claimed by the Palestinians.

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