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Israel rejects Obama's call for building halt in East Jerusalem

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IN PICTURES: Israeli settlements

Proposals [in past negotiations] have included a release of some of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails and the removal of some of the roadblocks hindering the movement of Palestinian people and goods in the West Bank.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called the Netanyahu position "very unfortunate" and said he hoped the US "will be able to convince the Israeli government to give peace a chance by halting settlement construction in east Jerusalem and elsewhere."

Mr. Netanyahu late last year agreed to a temporary freeze on settlements in the West Bank, hoping to kick-start talks with the Palestinians, and last month polls showed half of Israel supports that – in addition to a freeze in Jerusalem. Those results went against the prime minister’s claim of broad support for building in the eastern part of the capital, says The Christian Science Monitor.

Also Thursday, in a letter to the chair of a group representing American Jewish organizations, Obama said any tension that has been created between Israel and the US will be resolved, reports The Jerusalem Post.

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