UN: Sharp rise in Israeli demolitions in West Bank

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RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- A U.N report shows a sharp rise in Israeli demolitions of Palestinian shacks, animal shelters and other structures in the West Bank's strategic Jordan Valley.

The valley's fate is a sticking point in U.S.-led Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Figures released Thursday show that Israel demolished 390 structures in the valley in 2013, up from 172 the year before. Close to 600 Palestinians were displaced last year, compared to 279 in 2012.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment. It has said such structures are razed because they are built without permits. Palestinians say Israel only rarely issues building permits.

Israel's government wants to retain a long-term military presence in the valley, citing security concerns. The Palestinians say they are willing to consider a phased Israeli withdrawal of up to five years.