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The Israeli government approved plans to build nearly 5,300 new homes in West Bank settlements, aiming to cement control and hinder a future Palestinian state, according to a monitoring group. This decision coincides with renewed diplomatic efforts to end the nine-month Gaza war, with Prime Minister Netanyahu resuming negotiations. Meanwhile, fighting between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah has intensified, raising fears of a broader Middle East conflict. Hezbollah has indicated it will cease attacks if a Hamas-Israel cease-fire is achieved. The settlement expansion risks escalating West Bank tensions amid ongoing Gaza violence.

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