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Richard Gere in Israel criticizes settlements

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American actor Richard Gere speaks during a press conference at the Israeli premiere of the "Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer" movie, in Jerusalem, Thursday, March 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)

JERUSALEM (AP) — Richard Gere has lashed out at Israel over its settlements in territory that Palestinians want for a state.

The "Pretty Woman" star came to Jerusalem for the local premiere of a new film by Israeli writer-director Joseph Cedar in which he stars.

A story in Sunday's Haaretz newspaper quoted the actor as saying "settlements are such an absurd provocation ... and they are certainly not part of the program of someone who wants a genuine peace process."

The international community mostly considers settlements illegal and an obstacle to peace. Israel says settlements along with other core issues like security should be resolved in peace talks.