Israel approves hundreds of new settlement homes despite Quartet warning

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday security forces had taken a number of measures, "including aggressive ones which had not been used in the past" in an effort to quell violence in the hotspot West Bank city of Hebron.

"We were hoping that the Palestinian leadership would issue a pacifying and restrained statement, but unfortunately it does the opposite", the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said in a statement.

Israel approved 42 new housing units in the settlement of Kiryat Arba, where a Palestinian fatally stabbed a 13-year-old girl inside her home on Thursday (June 30) before guards shot him dead.

Haaretz quoted an unidentified Israeli official as saying the new homes slated for the settlements were aimed at "sweetening the pill" for right-wingers upset by the construction plans for Beit Safafa and seeking a strong response to recent deadly Palestinian attacks on Israelis.

Earlier on Sunday, the UN's special coordinator for Middle East peace cautioned that a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is slipping away.

"This raises legitimate questions about Israel's long-term intentions, which are compounded by the statements of some Israeli ministers that there should never be a Palestinian state", the report said.

Sources close to Humeid told Israeli newspaper Haaretz that such visits are customary in Palestinian society and do not indicate a show of support for the act of violence by the attacker.

She was a relative of the Kiryat Arba attacker. "It is the occupation itself", he said.

"A good example, just 24 hours after the release of the Quartet report (on Friday), the governorate of Hebron with its population of around 700,000 people is under total military siege".

Thirty-four Israelis have now been killed in a wave of knife, gun and car-ramming attacks since October.

Israel routinely demolishes homes of Palestinian assailants in what it says is a means to deter further attacks.

Palestinians and Israelis have, understandably, reached a point where many on both sides have lost faith in the others commitment to a future of two states living side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition, he continued.

The West Bank city has always been a flashpoint, with hundreds of Jewish settlers living in Hebron illegally according to global law, under heavy military guard in the heart of the city among some 200,000 Palestinians. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of the state they seek to create in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Peace talks collapsed in April 2014 and Israeli-Palestinian violence has surged in recent months.

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