First Published: 2009-06-24

 
US again slams Netanyahu over settlements
 

Washington cancels Mitchell’s meeting with Israeli PM in Paris due to Israel's refusal to halt settlement growth.

 

Middle East Online

Clear message to hardline Netanyahu

JERUSALEM - Washington called off a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the US Middle East envoy because of Israel's refusal to halt settlement growth, an Israeli newspaper said on Wednesday.

The mass-selling Yediot Aharonot, quoting an unnamed Israeli official, said that Washington issued a "stern" message to Netanyahu to halt all settlement activity on occupied Palestinian land, including so-called "natural growth" within existing settlements.

"Once you've finished the homework we gave you on stopping construction in the settlements, let us know. Until then, there's no point in having (US Middle East envoy George) Mitchell fly to Paris to meet you," the official said.

The meeting with Mitchell was to take place in Paris during Netanyahu's first visit to Europe since taking office earlier this year at the head of a hawkish right-wing government.

An Israeli official said Mitchell would instead meet Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Monday in Washington.

"This delay will enable us to throw light on topical questions which are now hanging in the air and have not been resolved," the official said Tuesday, without elaborating.

In recent weeks Washington has ramped up pressure on Netanyahu's government to halt all settlement activity in the occupied West Bank as part of efforts to relaunch the Middle East peace process.

The Palestinians have said they will not meet Netanyahu until Israel halts all settlement activity, and the presence of some 280,000 Israelis in more than 100 settlements across the territory has been seen as a major obstacle to peace efforts.

Netanyahu has vowed not to build new settlements, but said he would allow for "natural growth" within existing settlements, including the main settlement blocs Israel expects to keep in any future peace deal.

But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in May that President Barack Obama had made it clear during Netanyahu's visit to Washington that he wants no "natural growth exceptions" to his call for a settlement freeze.

The international community considers all settlements in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, which Israel seized in the 1967 Six Day war, to be illegal.

 

Concern and grief as Britain remembers 2005 terror bombings

Iran nuclear talks: Will Ministers score diplomatic success?

Deadly US raids target ISIS stronghold in Syria

After Tunisia beach massacre, tourists switch to other destinations

Near Gaza Strip, Israelis live in fear behind concrete walls

Tunisia declares state of emergency after beach massacre

Erdogan moots possibility of snap election

Coalitions of Syria rebels battle regime forces in Aleppo

Lawlessness in Libya poses real danger for Tunisia

Hezbollah backs Syria army in major assault on border city

Syria mosque explosion kills at least 25 Nusra fighters

Egypt President in Sinai after jihadist attacks on security forces

Yemen Huthi rebels ‘attack’ various areas in Saudi Arabia

No guarantee of success as Iran nuclear talks inch closer to lasting deal

Egypt ‘in state of war’ on second anniversary of Islamist ouster

Ansar al-Sharia denies killing of Abu Iyadh in US air strike

Rockets from Sinai strike Israel

Palestinians arrest 100 Hamas members in West Bank

Erdogan inaugurates public mosque in palace

Islamists form alliance in battle for Aleppo

Top Tunisian jihadist reportedly killed by US strike in Libya

Emir attends joint Shiite, Sunni prayers in Kuwait

Hamas denies involvement in Sinai attacks

4 Qaeda suspects killed in US drone attack in Yemen

'Series of errors' behind Air Algerie crash in Mali

Ankara has no plans for imminent intervention in Syria

21 killed in clashes, strikes in Yemen's Aden

GCC states vow united stand against IS mosque bombings

Palestinians protest one year after teenager burned alive

Egypt vows to wipe out 'dens of terror'

Tunisia arrests eight in connection with beach massacre

Youth in Tunisia 'ripe for radicalisation'

UN sends mission to 'assess' South Sudan atrocities

Syria urges citizens to enlist

AQAP step up campaign to eradicate qat

Iraq Christians train for jihad against IS

British FM: 'No breakthrough yet' in Iran nuclear talks

UN imposes first sanctions on six South Sudan generals

Libya rival governments will not return to peace talks

Fighting rages in Yemen’s Aden

Egypt government adopts anti-terror law

Kurds warn Turkey against any ‘aggression’ in Syria

Kuwait makes DNA tests mandatory after suicide bombing

Kuwait parliament approves deficit budget on oil slide

Pro-Erdogan candidate becomes new speaker of Turkey parliament