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Israelis Ignore Critics of West Bank Settlement Plans

AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Israel is not backing down from plans to build 3,000 homes in West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem despite mounting international pressure that included another criticism Monday from the Obama administration.

While the White House urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "to reconsider these actions," a State Department spokesman called the Israeli plan "especially damaging" to peace efforts.

However, even a move by five European nations to lodge formal complaints with Israeli ambassadors seemed to have no effect.

An official with Netanyahu's office said on Monday, "Israel will continue to stand by its vital interests, even in the face of international pressure, and there will be no change in the decision that was made."

Washington and its allies who either voted against or abstained from the United Nations' resolution last week elevating the Palestinians to a non-member observer state feel that Israel's intransigence on the issue will ultimately hurt the goal of a two-state solution to the ongoing crisis between the Israelis and Palestinians.

At the U.N., Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that building in the area east of Jerusalem "would represent an almost fatal blow to the remaining chances of securing a two-state solution."

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