Israel approves new housing in east Jerusalem

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JERUSALEM (AP) -- Jerusalem's city government says it has granted building permits for 184 housing units in Jewish areas of east Jerusalem.

The approval by a local planning and building committee comes at a critical time for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which have shown no tangible progress.

Hagit Ofran, from the settlement watchdog group Peace Now, said Wednesday that the building permits cap a lengthy approval process and said construction could begin in weeks.

Some 550,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, areas the Palestinians want as part of a future state, along with the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians see settlement construction as a sign of bad faith.

Israel considers east Jerusalem, which it captured in the 1967 war, as part of its capital.