Netanyahu Halts Plan For Settlement Expansion in the West Bank

Cites "unnecessary confrontation" with Western nations

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JERUSALEM Israel's prime minister on Tuesday abruptly halted a plan to explore the potential construction of thousands of new homes in West Bank settlements, saying it had created an "unnecessary confrontation" with the international community that threatened to weaken his campaign against Iran's suspect nuclear program.

The plan announced by Israel's Housing Ministry earlier in the day had prompted a Palestinian threat to walk out of U.S.-brokered peace talks and drew angry criticism from officials in Washington, who said they had been blindsided by the move.

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