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Israeli Official: 3,000 Homes to be Built in West Bank Settlement

Israel's deputy defense minister says Israel plans to build 3,000 homes in the northern West Bank settlement of Ariel.

Zeev Boim made those remarks during a tour Monday of Israel's controversial separation barrier in the West Bank.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat responded to the plan by saying it will hurt prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has vowed that settlement growth will continue in the West Bank -- although Israel is required to freeze all settlement activity under terms of the internationally backed "road map" peace plan.

Last month, Israeli troops evacuated all 21 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip and four in the West Bank under Mr. Sharon's plan to "disengage" from the Palestinians.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.