JERUSALEM — Israel is moving forward with building nearly 900 new homes in east Jerusalem, an official said Tuesday, a decision that angered Palestinians before Mideast peace talks were to begin for the first time in years.
The Israeli announcement could affect Wednesday's talks, which come after months of mediation by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. In an initial gesture ahead of the talks, Israel was set to release 26 Palestinian prisoners, many involved in deadly attacks, late Tuesday.
The last round of substantive talks collapsed in late 2008, and negotiations have remained stalled mainly over the issue of Israeli settlement construction on territories claimed by the Palestinians for their future state. The Palestinians say the settlements, now home to more than 500,000 Israelis, is making it increasingly difficult to carve out their state and that continued Israeli construction is a sign of bad faith.
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