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Approval for new East Jerusalem construction

    The Israeli Interior Ministry has approved the construction of new housing in East Jerusalem.

    The 1,100 new housing units at Gilo will include public buildings, a school and homes for young couples, although the plan is subject to a 60-day discussion period.

    The decision was criticised by left-wing groups in Israel and the Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who said it represented a series of "no's to the resumption of peace talks".

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week in an interview with the Jerusalem Post that the ten-month settlement freeze had yielded no progress on the peace process.

    The Palestinian president submitted a unilateral bid for statehood at the UN on Friday, despite repeated calls by Israel and the US for it to return to negotiating table instead.

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