Israel-US settlements deal 'close'

Israeli ambassador to US says agreement likely to permit so-called 'natural growth'.

    The Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and in East Jerusalem violate international law [AFP]

    But after talks at the United Nations in September with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, Obama announced only that Israeli officials had "discussed important steps to restrain settlement activity" – far short of a total freeze on settlement construction pending fresh Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

    Obama 'kept informed'

    Asked if the Obama administration had given its assent to finish work on settlements already under construction before the "pause", Oren said: "That was the understanding."

    "I think everything is agreed on and the [Obama] administration is fully informed about any construction activities in the territories," he said.

    While Oren admitted that the slightest piece of settlement infrastructure already laid down in the occupied territories will be allowed to be completed, he added that the Israeli government had made a commitment not to build what he called "new" settlements.

    "The [Israeli] government has committed not to build new settlements in the territories [and will not] move to entice Israelis to the settlements," he said,

    "There will be no additional [Palestinian] land appropriated for the settlements. There have been a number of undertakings on the part of the Israeli government to create the conditions conducive [to] renewing the negotiations [with the Palestinian Authority].

    "Our position remains to renew negotiations as soon as possible."

    The Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal under international law and several UN Security Council resolutions have called for the settlements to be dismantled.

    Palestinians argue that the Israeli settlements are being built on occupied land to create "facts on the ground" that will limit the size and viability of an independent Palestinian state.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    From Cameroon to US-Mexico border: 'We saw corpses along the way'

    'We saw corpses along the way'

    Kombo Yannick is one of the many African asylum seekers braving the longer Latin America route to the US.