Kerry: Israeli settlements led to peace talks stalemate

A general view taken on April 8, 2014 shows Israeli construction cranes and excavators at a building site of new housing units in the Jewish settlement of Neve Yaakov, in the northern area of east JerusalemUS Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday blamed approval of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem for derailing peace talks with Palestinians, a charge that pricked Israeli officials and sent aides into damage control. The Israeli government announced a major expansion of settlement construction in the West Bank last month, just as Washington was scrambling for a way to get the two sides to extend US-sponsored peace talks beyond an April 29 deadline. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have teetered on the brink of collapse, with Washington fighting an uphill battle to get the two sides to agree to a framework proposal to extend the negotiations to the year’s end.

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