Palestinians accuse Ehud Barak of contempt for peace talks by giving approval for building of 277 homes in Ariel
The Israeli government has authorised the construction of 277 homes in the West Bank settlement of Ariel, a move that will diminish the prospects for a resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.
An announcement from the defence ministry said approval for the scheme was given last week. The government also backed the building of 1,600 homes in the East Jerusalem settlement of Ramat Shlomo. Further announcements are expected in the coming days.
Ariel, home to almost 20,000 Israelis, extends 12 miles (20km) inside the West Bank. Its future under any agreement on borders with the Palestinians is uncertain.