Reuters International

Houses are seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Karmel, near Hebron May 24, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner/File Photo

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Reports that Israel is planning to build hundreds of new homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, if true, seem to be part of a systematic process that is undermining efforts to reach a political deal with the Palestinians, the U.S. State Department said on Tuesday.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said U.S. officials had seen reports that Israel intends to advance plans for hundreds of housing units in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

"If true, this report would be the latest step in what seems to be a systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions and legalizations of outposts that is fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution," Kirby told a news briefing.

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Eric Beech)

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