US gives $75 million more in aid to Palestinians

BETHLEHEM,

 West Bank  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the United State will provide an additional $75 million in aid to create Palestinian jobs and help them improve roads, schools and other infrastructure.

U.S. officials say the aid is designed to boost Palestinian public support for faltering peace talks with Israel by showing them tangible benefits from the process.

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Kerry announced the aid on Wednesday in Bethlehem, where he is meeting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. Kerry met earlier Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.

The new aid brings the U.S. contribution to a Palestinian infrastructure program to $100 million.

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Netanyahu urges more pressure on Iran

 JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking direct aim at the Obama administration’s desire for a pause in new sanctions against Iran. Netanyahu says more pressure is the way to convince the Iranians to prove their nuclear program is peaceful.

Speaking as he met with Kerry on Wednesday, Netanyahu said pressure “should be maintained and even increased” ahead of a second round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany that is scheduled to begin in Geneva on Thursday. The Obama administration says it wants to hold off on new sanctions to allow for flexibility in those talks.

Kerry did not address the sanctions issues but is stressing that the U.S. won’t allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon.