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Report: Israeli Settlers in West Bank Top 300,000

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz says the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank has topped 300,000.

In a report Monday, Haaretz said as of June 30, there were 304,569 settlers living in the Palestinian territory, an increase of 2.3 percent since January.

The paper said the figures came from an Israeli government report.

The settlement issue is one of the main obstacles in the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has repeatedly called on Israel to halt all settlement activity as part of efforts to revive the peace process.

Three top U.S. officials, U.S. special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and National Security Advisor James Jones, are holding talks in Israel this week and are pushing for a settlement freeze.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far refused the demand, creating tensions with Washington.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.