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Israel accused over homes approval

Israel has been accused by the UK of hampering peace efforts with another "provocative and deeply counter-productive" step after authorities approved construction in sensitive areas of Jerusalem.

Around 130 homes will be built in the Gilo neighbourhood and a new tourism centre in the part of the city known as Silwan under plans given the green light this week.

Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said: "I condemn the decision by the Jerusalem local planning and building committee to build additional structures.

"This is another provocative and deeply counter-productive step, the latest in a series by the Israeli authorities.

"Continued systematic settlement construction makes it ever harder to achieve the common goal of international efforts: a contiguous Palestinian state living side-by-side with a secure Israel, with Jerusalem as a shared capital."

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