Israel backtracks on new settlements
JERUSALEM — Israel's prime minister on Tuesday abruptly halted a plan to explore the potential construction of thousands of homes in West Bank settlements, saying it had started an “unnecessary confrontation” with the international community that threatened to weaken his campaign against Iran's suspect nuclear program.
The plan announced by Israel's Housing Ministry earlier in the day had prompted a Palestinian threat to walk out of U.S.-brokered peace talks and drew angry criticism from officials in Washington, who said they were blindsided by the move.
In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had asked his housing minister, Uri Ariel, to reconsider the plan. He noted that Ariel, a member of the pro-settlement Jewish Home Party, had drawn up the plan “without any advance coordination.”
“This step does not contribute to settlement. On the contrary, there is damage here for settlement,” Netanyahu said. “This is a meaningless step — legally and in practice — and an action that creates an unnecessary confrontation with the international community at a time when we are making an effort to persuade elements in the international community to reach a better deal with Iran.”
The statement said Ariel had accepted the request.
The issue of settlement construction has been at the heart of a standstill in peace efforts in recent years.
The Palestinians claim the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories captured by Israel in 1967, for an independent state. They say Israeli settlement construction on occupied lands is a sign of bad faith.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 111-year-old from Japan recognized as oldest man
- Landslide in Japan leaves dozens dead
- Ukrainian troops regaining control
- N. Korea aims for Kerry’s jaw as string of insults continues
- Israel, Gaza militants trade fire after talks fail
- Iraqi terrorists are Islam’s enemy, Saudi cleric warns
- Afghanistan’s bid for transition tenuous
- Crash kills Brazilian presidential candidate
- Kiev attacks on 2 fronts; Poroshenko preps to meet Merkel, Putin
- Islamic State fighters massacre as many as 700 Syrian tribesmen, activists report
- Pope’s small car fascinates South Koreans