Israel forging ahead after settlement plan backlash
JERUSALEM - Israel is vowing to push ahead with the construction of thousands of new homes in West Bank settlements, despite a wave of condemnations from the U.S. and Europe.
Last week's U.N. decision to recognize a Palestinian state may be fueling a tougher stand around the world against Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem.
In Washington, a State Department spokesman said the planned settlement construction is "especially damaging" to prospects for resuming peace talks.
In Europe, Israeli ambassadors were summoned for consultations in five capitals, and officials are warning of other potential measures against Israel.
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is showing no signs of backing down. His office says Israel will continue to stand up for its interests "even in the face of international pressure."
Israel's announcement last week that it would build the new homes in the Jewish settlements came hours after the U.N. vote, in which the General Assembly overwhelmingly recognized a Palestinian state in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.