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Palestinians weighing alternatives to peace talks

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By Associated Press

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — The Palestinians will study alternatives to peace talks with Israel in the coming days, a top PLO official said Saturday, after Israel gave the green light to build 238 new houses for Jews on war-won land Palestinians seek for their state.

However, it's unlikely the Palestinians will take any dramatic steps before Nov. 2 midterm elections in the U.S., since Arab leaders have already promised the Obama administration more time — until a few days after the vote — to try to relaunch negotiations. Saturday's statements seemed intended mainly as a new warning that Washington's peace efforts are in trouble.

The negotiations, launched by the U.S. in early September, quickly broke down over Israel's refusal to extend a limited curb on construction in West Bank settlements, deemed illegal by the international community.

The Palestinians want to establish their state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem — territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast War — and say there is no point negotiating as long as expanding settlements gobble up more of that land.

Nearly half a million Israelis live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.


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