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Israeli forces evict settlers in West Bank city of Hebron

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On Tuesday, Israel announced it was pushing forward with an earlier plan to build hundreds of new homes in a Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem.

A Construction Ministry spokesman said the latest move, seeking builders for the project, means that construction could start in the Har Homa neighborhood within a year.

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Settlements in occupied territory have been the key sticking point since Netanyahu became prime minister three years ago.

Negotiations have been largely frozen during that time, though Netanyahu will hold a rare meeting with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad after the Jewish Passover holiday ends in late April, officials on both sides said. U.S. Mideast envoy David Hale is in the region trying to get peace efforts back on track.

Palestinian officials said Fayyad would present a letter asking to resume peace talks based on several conditions Netanyahu has rejected in the past. They include basing border talks on lines Israel held before capturing the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in 1967 and recognizing east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 but still controls its land crossing with the territory and blockades its coast.

In other developments, the Israeli military shot dead a Palestinian man who approached Gaza’s border with Israel overnight. The military said it suspected he was a militant. There was no word on the man’s identity.

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