BERLIN (AP) — Israel's prime minister is brushing off international criticism over a planned new settlement project near Jerusalem, saying Israel will keep the area under any future peace deal in any case.

Israel's plans to build 3,000 new settler homes in the corridor near Jerusalem triggered sharp criticism in Europe.

After meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said "most governments who have looked at these proposals over the years including the Palestinians themselves ... understand that these blocs ... are going to be part of Israel in a final political settlement of peace."

Palestinians say that would make it impossible for them to establish a viable state in the West Bank.

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