Israel Will Keep Building In Disputed Neighborhood

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel may be triggering a new spat with the Palestinians, ahead of a fresh round of peace talks.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says Israel will keep expanding a Jewish neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, defying international criticism. Israel plans to build hundreds of new apartments in Har Homa, an area of the city claimed by the Palestinians.

The U.S. has said such construction is unhelpful to peace efforts.

The Palestinians say the project is undermining peace talks.

The fate of Jerusalem is the most contentious issue in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, which were re-launched last November.

Under the U.S.-backed “road map” peace plan, Israel must stop construction in Jewish settlements, while the Palestinians must disarm militants.