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Israel's settlement expansion a sign of 'bad faith,' say Palestinians

The second round of US-brokered Mideast peace talks will be held next week, the State Department said Thursday, even as the Palestinians protested new Israeli settlement activity.

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US Secretary of State John Kerry invites Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to sit with him on June 28, during Kerry's fifth Mideast trip in Jerusalem. Mr. Kerry has coaxed Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the bargaining table anew.

Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AP/File

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The second round of US-brokered Mideast peace talks will be held next week, the State Department said Thursday, even as the Palestinians protested new Israeli settlement activity.

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said Israel's latest settlement announcements were an indication of "Israel's bad faith and lack of seriousness" in the talks.

The letter was sent Thursday, the same day that State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki announced that Mideast peace envoy Martin Indyk and deputy special envoy Frank Lowenstein were heading to the region for talks Aug. 14 in Jerusalem, followed by a later meeting in the West Bank.

The first round of negotiations, held July 31 in Washington, was the first major effort since negotiations broke down in 2008.

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