Israel admits slowdown in settlement removal

An Israeli defence official has admitted that the army has slowed down the pace of dismantling Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

    Settlers are often heavily armed

    Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Zeev Boim made the acknowledgement on Thursday in an interview with public radio.  
     
    Boim said dismantling settlements, illegal under international law, had been made “difficult” because the Palestinian Authority had not cracked down on resistance groups.

    The defence official claimed that the Israeli army had dismantled 43 settlements in a year, saying two of them were removed on Wednesday.
      
    But these consisted of removing an empty storage house and the abandoned carcass of a bus, according to Israeli military radio.
     
    The Israeli watchdog Peace Now says there are 103 settlements in the West Bank, 56 of which were set up after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon came to power in March 2001.

    Under the US-backed “road map”, aimed at ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, these settlements should be dismantled.

    SOURCE: AFP


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