Israel's prime minister says the country will continue building homes in existing West Bank settlements, defying Washington's appeals to stop such activity.
Benjamin Netanyahu told a Cabinet meeting Sunday that Israel will not build any new settlements. But he said existing settlements must be allowed to expand for what he called the "natural growth" of their population.
The United States and other world powers have urged Israel to stop the construction, saying it undermines the peace process with the Palestinians.
About half a million Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel captured from the Palestinians in the 1967 Middle East War.
The Palestinians want the land back to create their own state.