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Amidst tide of violence, Israel approves more settlements

JERUSALEM - An Israeli official has confirmed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has authorized construction of hundreds of new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The move comes as a response to a series of deadly Palestinians attacks against Jewish settlers.

The official says construction would take place in Maale Adumim, just outside Jerusalem, and in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Ramot, Gilo and Har Homa. The plan also called for over 600 new homes in an Arab neighborhood of east Jerusalem.

Israel retaliates after Tel Aviv terror attack

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity on Tuesday as he isn't authorized to discuss the matter with reporters.

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967. Most of the world considers settlement construction illegal or illegitimate.

Their construction continues to be one of the main sticking points hindering a movement towards reconciliation between the two sides, and are often the focus of violence by Palestinians.

Last week, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli teenager to death in her bedroom in the in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba. Israelis civilian security officers shot and killed the assailant, identified as Mohammed Tarayreh, 19, from the nearby Bani Naim village. One officer was stabbed before Tarayreh was killed.

Over the last nine months, Palestinians have carried out dozens of attacks that have killed 33 Israelis and two Americans. About 200 Palestinians have been killed during that time, most identified as attackers by Israel.

Kiryat Arba is a settlement adjacent to the city of Hebron, which has been a flashpoint of violence in the recent wave of attacks. There, about 850 Israelis live in heavily fortified enclaves amid some 200,000 Palestinians. Jews and Muslims revere Hebron as the burial place of the biblical Abraham.

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