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Jerusalem - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused the Palestinians of trying to create an “artificial crisis” over Israeli settlement construction.
The Palestinians knew “very well” that Israel did not accept a settlement freeze as a condition when they agreed to revive the current peace talks, he said.
Netanyahu made the remarks on Sunday to his Likud faction, but his aides and Israel Radio published them on Monday, in response to Palestinian anger over plans to build almost 1 900 new housing units in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Israeli authorities published tenders for the projects at the weekend, ahead of a visit to the region by US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Palestinian officials said they would protest against the construction plans to Kerry, who is trying to push for progress in the talks, which were revived in July for the first time in years.
Israeli officials say Israel agreed to release jailed Palestinian militants to facilitate the talks, but never accepted a settlement freeze.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told members of his Fatah party that three months of negotiations with Israel had not yet yielded any results, according to the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA, on Monday.
It said Abbas made the remark in a speech to the Fatah Consulting Council on Sunday.