Israel has sparked fresh Palestinian anger by approving the construction of more than 100 Jewish homes in the occupied West Bank.
It says the project can go ahead because it was already underway when a limited settlement freeze on new housing was ordered in November.
For Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, the move tarnishes the latest US-brokered peace talks getting underway.
“What is required are decisions and the decision here are the borders of ’67 with agreed swaps,” he said. “If, in 4 months we don’t have an agreement on two states on the 1967 borders with agreed swaps, close the chapter.”
In his latest effort to kickstart the peace process, US envoy George Mitchell was meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. And today US Vice President Joe Biden was starting his visit to the Middle East.