Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

War and Markets, with Steen Jakobsen, Chief Economist at Saxo Bank

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France commemorates a hero of the left

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Diplomatic strain for John Kerry

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Germany and Russia 'discuss secret Ukraine deal'

Read more

WEB NEWS

Fake Twitter accounts spread Chinese propaganda

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Argentina set for deeper recession after default

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, Former WHO Deputy Regional Director for Africa

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a 'Third Intifada'?

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new game plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Israel calls up 16,000 more reservists as Gaza death toll soars

    Read more

  • France remembers murdered socialist hero Jean Jaurès

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Sierra Leone declares state of emergency over Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • Investigators reach MH17 crash site amid 24-hour ceasefire

    Read more

  • Video: Inside Hamas ‘terror’ tunnels in Gaza

    Read more

  • Scores feared dead in India landslide

    Read more

  • Russia ordered to pay further €1.9 billion to Yukos shareholders

    Read more

  • Iraq's Christians: Nowhere to Run?

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with creditors

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

Middle east

Right-wing Likud backs more settlements in West Bank

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-06-24

Israel's right-wing Likud party backed expanding Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank on Thursday with hopes to begin construction in September. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu imposed a 10-month construction ban last fall.

AFP - Israel's right-wing Likud party backed on Thursday the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, with an eye to a building spurt when a building moratorium expires in September.

"The central committee of the Likud has unanimously approved the pursuit of construction and development in Judea and Samaria," said a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party, using the Biblical name for the West Bank.

Some 2,500 members of the policy-making central committee debated the motion which "supports building and developing throughout the Land of Israel including... Greater Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria."

Judea and Samaria are the biblical names for the West Bank. Greater Jerusalem includes mainly Arab east Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed immediately after.

The debate was proposed by legislator Danny Danon in a bid to emphasise the party's wholehearted support for a return to construction when the freeze expires in September, although neither the moratorium nor the deadline was mentioned in the wording of the draft resolution.

"The essence of today's decision is that the Likud movement is saying to its leaders, Knesset members, ministers, the prime minister: 'We are committed to building in Judea and Samaria on September 26' when the (freeze) order runs out and we resume building," he told Israel's educational TV channel.

Netanyahu reluctantly imposed a 10-month ban on new building in November following months of US demands for gestures to help relaunch peace talks with the Palestinians suspended during the 2008-2009 Gaza war.

But the Palestinians dismissed the move as insufficient because it did not include projects already under way, public buildings or east Jerusalem, which they claim as the capital of their future state.

Israel's Peace Now group, which monitors settlements, said last week that so many projects were approved before the "freeze" began that it has has done little to slow the expansion of settlements.

Likud central committee chairman Moshe Kahlon, who is also communications minister, confirmed that the motion did not make direct reference to the freeze or its expiry date.

"The debate today is not about the freeze," he told the radio. Netanyahu would not attend the committee session in Tel Aviv, Kahlon said, insisting that his absence had no political significance.

Likud MP Ofir Akonis told public radio the motion endorsing settlement expansion was so popular that Netanyahu did not need to attend the meeting, while stressing that the premier did support the party's position.

On July 6 Netanyahu will meet President Barack Obama in the White House. Washington has repeatedly criticised West Bank settlement as an obstacle to the peace process.

"The last thing (Netanyahu) needs is that two weeks before the meeting with US President Barack Obama, he goes to a meeting of his own party which seeks to oblige him to build in Judea and Samaria," the radio station's political reporter said.

The Palestinians grudgingly agreed to relaunch indirect US-brokered peace talks with Israel in May, but have said they will not move to direct negotiations without a complete settlement freeze including in east Jerusalem.

The presence of nearly half a million Israelis in more than 120 settlements scattered across the West Bank and east Jerusalem has long been seen as a major threat to the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state.
 

Date created : 2010-06-24

  • ISRAELI - PALESTINIAN CONFLICT

    Peace talks will not slow Jerusalem building, vows Netanyahu

    Read more

  • ARAB LEAGUE

    Arab leaders rule out peace talks unless Israel halts settlements

    Read more

  • USA - ISRAEL

    Netanyahu vows policy will not change after US demands for concessions

    Read more

COMMENT(S)