Israel Approves 1,100 New Homes in East Jerusalem Following Palestinians' Statehood Bid

By the Associated Press | September 27, 2011 | 9:05 AM EDT

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's government has given the final go-ahead for the construction of 1,100 new housing units in east Jerusalem.

The move is sure to heighten tensions, which are already high following a Palestinian move last week to seek U.N. membership.

Israel's Interior Ministry announced Tuesday that it had given the final approval for the new homes to be built in Gilo, a sprawling Israeli enclave in southeast Jerusalem. It said construction could begin after a mandatory 60-day period for public comment.

The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war, as their future capital. They oppose all Israeli construction in the city's eastern sector and have demanded a freeze on settlement construction in east Jerusalem and the adjacent West Bank.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister has ruled out a freeze on settlement construction — a stance that is expected to further stall the resumption of peace talks with Palestinians.

The Palestinians have said they will not negotiate unless Israel halts settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, land which they claim as part of a future independent state. Both areas were captured by Israel in the 1967 war.

In comments published in Tuesday's Jerusalem Post, Israel's prime minister said last year's 10-month freeze on construction failed to yield results. Benjamin Netanyahu said he saw no need for another moratorium on settlement construction.

The Palestinians, also fed up with deadlocked negotiations, have asked the United Nations to recognize their independence.