Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late Tuesday cancelled plans to build 20,000 new settler homes in the West Bank, after US and Palestinian criticism over the project.
Netanyahu ordered the Israeli housing minister Uri Ariel "to reconsider all of the steps for evaluating planning potential (of the settler homes) that he distributed without any advance coordination", a statement from his office said.
Netanyahu told Ariel the plan was "an action that creates an unnecessary confrontation with the international community at a time when we are making an effort to persuade elements in the international community to reach a better deal with Iran", according to the statement.
The statement was issued after Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas warned the construction plans, announced earlier Tuesday by Israel, would prompt him to declare the peace process over if they went ahead. Washington had also expressed "deep concern" over the plans.