News / Middle East

Israeli Minister Expects 50 Percent More West Bank Settlers by 2019

Israeli Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel, center, speaks to journalists during ceremony marking resumption of construction in east Jerusalem, Aug. 11, 2013.
Israeli Minister of Housing and Construction Uri Ariel, center, speaks to journalists during ceremony marking resumption of construction in east Jerusalem, Aug. 11, 2013.
Reuters
The number of Jewish settlers in the Israeli-occupied West Bank could grow by as much as 50 percent by 2019, Israel's ultra-nationalist construction minister said on Friday.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of their future state and blamed settlement expansions for the breakdown last month of U.S.-mediated peace talks with Israel — a position supported in part by Washington, but rejected by the Israelis.

Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel, a member of the hardline Jewish Home party in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's conservative coalition government, said the negotiations on Palestinian statehood were in their “dying throes” and predicted the settler population would spiral.

“I think that in five years there will be 550,000 or 600,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria, rather than 400,000 [now],” he told Tel Aviv radio station 102 FM, using a biblical term for the West Bank, which many Israelis see as a religious birthright and security bulwark.

Most world powers deem the Israeli settlements illegal.

Ariel put the number of Israelis in East Jerusalem at between 300,000 and 350,000. Some 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, areas which, along with the Gaza Strip, Israel captured in a 1967 war.

During the nine months of failed peacemaking, Ariel published tenders for settlement construction which were cited by the United States as having contributed to the impasse by convincing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Netanyahu was not serious about reaching an accord.

U.S. officials have also faulted Abbas for unilaterally signing 15 conventions meant to advance Palestinian independence and for entering a unity pact with Islamist Hamas rivals who control Gaza and spurn coexistence with the Jewish state.

Netanyahu has said he would be willing to make way for a future Palestine in the West Bank, though Israel wants to annex swaths of settlements and keep East Jerusalem.

The Jewish Home opposes Palestinian statehood altogether, raising speculation in Israel that Netanyahu, in the unlikely event of a diplomatic breakthrough, would eject the party from his coalition.

Hosting U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Jerusalem on Friday, Netanyahu put the onus for the deadlock on Abbas.

“One of the things we have found, unfortunately, is that our Palestinian neighbors are moving ahead in a pact with Hamas," he said. "The United States has designated Hamas rightly as a terrorist organization.” 

“I think the Palestinians have to make a simple choice — a pact with Hamas or peace with Israel. But they cannot have both.”

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More