Israel is facing diplomatic push-back over its recently announced settlement plans on strategically sensitive occupied land near East Jerusalem. On Monday, the British government warned that Israel should expect a "strong reaction" if it goes ahead with building 3,000 settlement units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. At the United Nations, where the General Assembly last week upgraded the Palestinians' status from "entity" to "non-member observer state," Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said such a move would be "an almost fatal blow" to peace talks. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was the Palestinians who had set back the cause of peace by asking for U.N. recognition, instead of establishing a Palestinian state through negotiations, as previously agreed.
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