Israel draws international rebuke over refusal to freeze settlement construction

The EU, UN and Arab League criticize Israel on its failure to renew freeze on West Bank settlement construction, which expired in late September, leading to the halt of direct Israel-PA peace talks.

The European Union, the United Nations and the Arab League have rebuked Israel after its refusal to halt settlement construction forced Washington to drop efforts to relaunch Mideast peace talks.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday stuck to his position that he won't negotiate without a freeze of Jewish settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - lands captured by Israel in the Six Day War in 1967 and sought by the Palestinians for their state. He spoke after meeting in Cairo with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.

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