Israel has moved forward with plans to build nearly 1200
homes for Jewish settlers, holding fast to a defiant
settlement policy as cabinet ministers met to approve a
release of Palestinian prisoners ahead of a new round of
The United States has urged Israel to reconsider its plan to
erect 3000 more homes in the occupied West Bank and East
Jerusalem, saying the move was counterproductive to peace
efforts with the Palestinians.
Israel has launched a major offensive against Palestinian
militants in Gaza, killing the military commander of Hamas in
an air strike and threatening an invasion of the enclave that
the Islamist group vowed would "open the gates of hell".