Israel says no reason to stop settlements on occupied Palestinian lands

An aide to Netanyahu disclosed the Israeli leader's intention to authorise the new settlements before considering a moratorium on new settlements.

Israel says no reason to stop settlements on occupied Palestinian lands

Israeli Minister said on Sunday they had no reason to stop ongoing settlements, as demanded by US, saying plan is underway to authorise hundreds of new settler buildings in the occupied West Bank.

The White House voiced regret on Friday over the new building plan and said such Israeli actions made it harder to create a climate for negotiations.

"The prime minister will decide in the coming days on the building of hundreds of additional housing units in order to solve existing problems in various settlements," Transport Minister Yisrael Katz told Israel Radio.

An aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu disclosed the Israeli leader's intention to authorise the new settlements before considering a moratorium on new settlements.

Some 2,500 housing units are currently being built in West Bank settlements and Israeli officials refuses an end to their construction.

Netanyahu, who holds further talks on the settlement issue later this week with U.S. envoy George Mitchell, has rejected a total end stipulated by a U.S.-backed 2003 peace "road map".

Netanyahu did not address the settlement issue in his broadcast remarks at an Israeli cabinet meeting on Sunday.

But National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, using Israel's terms for the West Bank, told reporters: "I don't see any reason to stop construction ... in Judea and Samaria.

"We are not speaking about a freeze," but rather an "easing" of construction, Katz said.

Israeli human rights group Peace Now has slammed Netanyahu's move as "a virtual freeze, while the construction in West Bank and east Jerusalem will continue better than ever."

U.S. President Barack Obama is demanding a complete freeze of all Israeli building on the occupied West Bank, but the Netanyahu government has insisted on ongoing constructions. Palestinians have said they would revive stalled peace talks with Israel if its settlements stopped.

The World Court has ruled all settlements illegal under international law. The United States and European Union regard them as obstacles to peace.

Palestinians, who want their own state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, see the settlements as a land grab as an occupier "state".

Agencies

Last Mod: 06 Eylül 2009, 17:38
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