The road to Arab-Israeli peace could take yet another detour, the New York Times says, after Israel announced plans today to seek funding for the expansion of two Jewish settlements in areas Palestinians hope to claim for a future state. The two sides are expected to meet tomorrow, but Palestine’s chief negotiator warned the talks would have “no meaning” if Israel moves forward with its plans.
According to its 2008 budget proposal, Israel plans to build 500 apartments in a fiercely contested part of East Jerusalem and another 240 in Maale Adumim, its largest West Bank settlement and one it intends to keep under any long-term peace agreement. Israel also turned down calls for a Gaza cease-fire, refusing to negotiate directly with Hamas, which controls the territory. (Read more Israel stories.)