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Palestinians Appeal to US to Stop Israeli Construction in Jerusalem

Palestinian officials have appealed to the United States to block Israel's plans to build more than 300 new homes and expand a Jewish settlement on the edge of East Jerusalem.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says Palestinian leaders sent an urgent message to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Tuesday, asking her to intervene.

One of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the status of Jerusalem. Israel annexed East Jerusalem after the 1967 Mideast war, but that annexation is not internationally recognized. Palestinians have called for East Jerusalem to be the capital of the state they want to create.

Palestinians say the planned construction, in the neighborhood Israelis call Har Homa undermines newly relaunched peace negotiations.

But Israeli Spokesman Mark Regev contends the ban on new construction of Jewish settlements applies to territory in the West Bank. He says East Jerusalem falls under Israeli sovereignty.

In other news, the Palestinian Authority has deployed hundreds of security officers in the West Bank town of Tulkarem in a bid to curb violence and lawlessness.

Uniformed, armed policemen Tuesday fanned out across the Palestinian city of 50,000 in the north of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Officers are erecting checkpoints to search for unlicensed guns.

The deployment aims to help the government of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas exert its authority, and bolster it against the Islamic militant group Hamas, which seized the Gaza Strip and routed pro-Abbas forces in clashes in June.

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