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.

 

Terrorist attack at London’s Houses of Parliament

33 killed in US-led air strike on north Syria

Britain joins US in banning laptops on flights from Turkey, Arab world

Erdogan warns Europeans risk being ‘unsafe’ on world’s streets

Painting Across Generations highlights trends in art

2016 saw sharp rise in illegal Israeli settlement projects

US-led coalition vows lasting victory against IS

Bahrain arrests photographer on unspecified charges

Humanitarian groups demand access to Yemen civilians suffering 'open-air massacre'

Rights group says Libyan military committed war crimes

Israel seals East Jerusalem home of Palestinian attacker's family

Migrants in Europe at risk of drug-resistant tuberculosis

Iraqis urged to avoid hurried mass grave exhumations

Turkey steps up objection to US flight laptop ban

Anti-IS coalition gathers in Washington to hear Trump plan

Turkey links Gulen to murder of Armenian journalist

Kuwait bans hit movie ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Five dead in Mogadishu bombing

Khamenei fleshes out 'Made in Iran' vision

Turkey to ask US to reverse flight laptop ban

Israeli army says Hezbollah commander killed by own men

Kurds celebrate Newroz in Turkey's southeast despite shooting

Turkey’s AKP says no more campaign rallies in Germany

Chinese president calls for peace in meeting with Netanyahu

Iraq forces gain ground in Mosul

US bans electronic devices from cabins on Middle East flights

Erdogan says yes vote best response to 'fascist Europe'

Arab Israeli woman gets 50 months prison for joining IS

All Syria sides confirm attendance at Geneva talks

Abadi: Trump 'more engaged' in terror fight

Mosul’s displaced families reunite

Turkey detains three linked to Berlin attack

UNESCO raises $75.5 mn to protect heritage from war, terror

Syria Kurds to get training from Russian forces

Russia summoned Israeli ambassador over Syria air strikes

UN wants investigation into Yemen boat attack

Israel apartheid row reaches UN rights council

180,000 Iraqis displaced from west Mosul

Egypt's Sisi to visit Washington in April

Iran supreme leader calls for 'resistance economy'

Israel Shin Bet chief warns calm is 'deceiving'

Rome meeting looks to curb deadly sea crossings

Netanyahu in China amid Israel election speculation

Palestinan policeman killed by murder suspect

Syrian regime warplanes pound East Damascus