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US 'concerns' over Israel's West Bank building plans

Israeli paramilitary police and Jewish settlers stand near two partially-built dwellings during their demolition in the West Bank. Credit: Reuters

The United States is "deeply concerned" about Israel's plans to build 300 new homes in a Jewish settlement on the occupied West Bank and hundreds of homes in east Jerusalem.

State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement:

The United States continues to view settlements as illegitimate and we strongly oppose steps to advance construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Settlement expansion threatens the two-state solution and calls into question Israel's commitment to a negotiated resolution to the conflict.

– Mark Toner, US State Department


Report: 'Five rockets fired from Gaza Strip land in Israel'

Israeli television news reports said air raid sirens sounded after at least five rockets fired from the Gaza Strip landed in southern Israel.

There were no reports of damage or injuries. The remnants of one rocket were found near the port city of Ashdod, about 20 km north of the Gaza Strip, an ambulance service spokesman said. No group in the Gaza Strip had immediately taken responsibility. Israeli media speculated that it may have been an errant rocket that was not intentionally aimed at Israeli territory.


Israel PM Netanyahu strikes last-minute coalition deal

Netanyahu has struck a deal with Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett. Credit: Reuters

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has formed a last-minute coalition government, shortly before a deadline to do so was set to expire.

The coalition will rule by a slender majority after receiving the support of the far-right Bayit Yahudi (Jewish Home) party following hours of discussions over cabinet positions.

The announcement came two months after Netanyahu won victory in Israel's elections, and only two hours before a deadline mandated by law.

As well as Bayit Yahudi and the Prime Minister's leading Likud party, the coalition will include the orthodox United Torah Judaism and Shas parties, and Kulanu, a centrist faction - forming a government of 61 out of parliament's 120 seats.

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