Netanyahu Halts One West Bank Settlement Plan

But others proceed


With relations between Israel and the United States in distress over deep disagreements on Iranian nuclear negotiations and construction in West Bank settlements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday froze plans for building in a particularly contentious area outside Jerusalem known as E1.

But Israel's housing ministry nonetheless approved spending nearly $13 million on initial planning for about 20,000 new units in West Bank territory seized by Israel in 1967, which Palestinian leaders and left-wing Israelis condemned as a sign that Mr. Netanyahu was not serious about the peace talks that started this summer.

A senior official in the prime minister's office, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said Mr. Netanyahu had halted construction plans in E1, a vast, hilly expanse between East Jerusalem and a large Israeli settlement called Maale Adumim, so as not to exacerbate tensions with Washington and the West.