News / Middle East

Israeli Minister Urges Netanyahu to Annex Settlements

Palestinian farmers argue with an Israeli soldier as they try to plant olive trees during a protest against what they say is land confiscation for Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley, a hotly contested part of the occupied West Bank, April 8, 2014.
Palestinian farmers argue with an Israeli soldier as they try to plant olive trees during a protest against what they say is land confiscation for Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley, a hotly contested part of the occupied West Bank, April 8, 2014.
Reuters
A senior Israeli minister has urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex a swathe of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, saying peace talks with the Palestinians were dead.
 
However, an Israeli source confirmed media reports that the sides were mulling a possible deal to extend the troubled talks beyond an April 29 deadline, through to the start of next year.
 
The U.S.-sponsored negotiations came close to collapse last week amidst mutual recrimination and although the two sides are seeking to overcome the crisis, Netanyahu started imposing punitive sanctions and ordered a partial freeze on contacts with the Palestinians on Wednesday.
 
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, who is head of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party, wrote to the prime minister late on Wednesday saying Israel should extend its sovereign territory to a number of major settlement blocs.

 
Houses are seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ma'ale Adumin near Jerusalem, Jan. 3, 2014.Houses are seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ma'ale Adumin near Jerusalem, Jan. 3, 2014.
x
Houses are seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ma'ale Adumin near Jerusalem, Jan. 3, 2014.
Houses are seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ma'ale Adumin near Jerusalem, Jan. 3, 2014.
Mega settlements, such as Ma'ale Adumin, are built on land seized in the 1967 war - territory the Palestinians want for their future state. Successive governments have said the blocs, deemed illegal under international law, should remain part of Israel in any negotiated deal with the Palestinians.
 
“It is clear that the current process has exhausted itself and that we are entering a new era,” said Bennett, urging Netanyahu to annex a number of large settlements.
 
“These are areas which enjoy a wide national consensus, have security implications and have historical significance for the State of Israel.”
 
Netanyahu made no comment on Bennett's request, but is likely to face strident calls from within his own rightist Likud party to annex the blocs, home to an estimated 350,000 Israelis, if the latest peace talks implode.
 
Such a move would almost certainly set off a storm of international condemnation, and Israel's chief negotiator, Tzipi Livni, said Bennett was acting like a “provocative child” who needed parental restraint.
 
“If you want to go totally crazy, keep it up until we can no longer make a deal and lose everything we hold dear,” Livni, who serves as justice minister, wrote on her Facebook page.
 
Breakthrough mooted
 
Despite the crisis in peace talks, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met for a third time this week on Thursday. Israeli and Arab media reports said they discussed proposals to break through the logjam and extend negotiations though early 2015.
 
An Israeli source speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed a proposal for Israel to freeze some settlement construction and free more than 400 Palestinian prisoners, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would freeze or rescind his signing of 15 world documents that angered Israel this month.
 
“It's on the agenda but nothing has yet been agreed upon,” the source said, suggesting some work was still required before any deal could be finalized. Officials on both sides seemed confident the impasse in the talks could be broken.
 
“I would bet on the possibility of them reaching a deal to continue negotiations between now and the end of the month. The differences are not so substantial,” said Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian government minister and now academic at Birzeit University in the West Bank.
 
Settlements have been a constant source of aggravation between Israelis and Palestinians, with construction of new Jewish homes in the West Bank rising 123 percent year-on-year in 2013, a surge that coincided with the resumption of talks.
 
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said this week that the announcement last week of tenders for 700 new homes in East Jerusalem was the immediate cause of the negotiations crisis.
 
An official in Netanyahu's office said Israel was “deeply disappointed” by Kerry's remarks, signaling clear tensions in relations between the two allies.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
April 11, 2014 10:16 AM
If this commentary box is not for sincere people's opinion, why is it included in articles for people to write and waste their time? If this commentary box is included here so that I start singing praises for your government and agree that the Palestine issue is handled the proper way, you are lying. My sincere opinion is what I write and wish to see it opened up to people to see that everybody is not just falling for the pranks of the West, the US-Arab leaning that has meant so much trouble to the region as well as to the whole world. No wonder many of the earlier critics and contributors have fizzled out because the opinion box here is included for people to just agree with whatever is published without having their own opinion - a decisive stratification. That is counter to freedom of expression, right to express self, as well as against democratic principles. If VOA does not need people's opinion here, why include the box only to jettison contributions that people have taken time to send in to VOA commentary box? Seems it all serves someone's personal ego, not the interest of VOA or the reading public.


by: DK Shaik from: Bangalore, India
April 10, 2014 10:01 AM
Where is so Called international Police US, it is internationally well known fact that Israel have occupied Palestinians territories...

Why US is so silent on the issue which Claims that they don't support any seize/ occupation /Land grab by any country... why don't they force Israel to leave the territories occupied by them and maintain the peace in region...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid