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Israel promotes 272 more settlement apartments

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RAMALLAH, West Bank (KNOE 8 News/AP) - An Israeli official confirms that Israel has promoted plans for 272 new apartments in two isolated West Bank settlements, on lands the Palestinians want for a state.

The final step in the approval process came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up another Middle East trip as part of his attempt to forge a peace deal.

The Israeli anti-settlement group Peace Now said Monday that Israeli authorities published the building plans for the settlements of Ofra and Karnei Shomron a day earlier. Peace Now says construction could begin in coming weeks.

Maj. Guy Inbar, an Israeli defense official, confirmed the plans were published. He says the initial approval was given in October.

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