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More than 300,000 Israeli settlers in West Bank: report

world Updated: Jul 27, 2009 17:13 IST

AFP
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The number of Israeli settlers in the West Bank now stands at more than 300,000 people, according to government figures published by the Haaretz newspaper on Monday.

As of June 30, there were 304,569 settlers living in the Palestinian territory, an increase of 2.3 per cent since the start of the year, it said.

The issue of settlements is one of the main stumbling blocks in the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The US administration has repeatedly pressed Israel to halt all settlement activity as part of its efforts to revive the stalled peace process.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far refused to heed the calls, sending tensions between the two allies rising to levels unseen in years.

The new figures were published amid a US diplomatic push that will see three senior officials -- Defence Secretary Robert Gates, Middle East envoy George Mitchell and National Security Advisor James Jones -- hold talks in Israel this week.