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Israel PM vows to continue settlement expansion
Published Thursday 19/12/2013 (updated) 20/12/2013 20:18
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The Palestinians view continued Jewish settlement construction
in the West Bank as a major obstacle to US-brokered peace talks
relaunched in July after a three-year hiatus (AFP/File Gali Tibbon)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue "developing" settlements following reports of US pressure ahead of a fresh round of Palestinian prisoner releases due later this month.

"We will not stop, even for a moment, building our country and becoming stronger, and developing ... the settlement enterprise," he told members of his right-wing Likud faction in remarks broadcast on army radio on Thursday.

Netanyahu's comments, made late on Wednesday, came as US Secretary of State John Kerry fights for the survival of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, which were launched in late July but have been severely strained by Israel's persistent settlement drive.

Late on Wednesday, the Haaretz news website reported that Kerry and other senior US officials had urged Netanyahu and his cabinet "to exercise maximum restraint in announcing new construction," in tandem with the release on Dec. 29 of 26 veteran Palestinian prisoners.

Two previous rounds of prisoner releases in August and October have been accompanied by Israeli announcements of fresh construction on land the Palestinians want for a future state, sparking deep anger in Ramallah.

But in his remarks on Wednesday, Netanyahu appeared to rebuff any pressure from Washington, blaming the absence of any peace agreement on the Palestinians' refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

"I know that people keep telling us that there is no peace because of the settlements, because of our presence in Judea and Samaria and it's not true," the premier said, using the biblical term for the West Bank.

"There is no peace because of the ongoing opposition to the existence of a national Jewish homeland within any borders, and we have the right to a state just like any other people."
1 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
19/12/2013 14:14
Palestinians have to make their minds up. If they insist that Israel release convicted murderers in return for peace talks, then they have to accept a few more apartments within existing settlements in return. Want peace? Then have the talks with NO pre-conditions. If there is a peace treaty then ALL the prisoners get released (including the most vile war criminals) and the settlement issue is resolved.

2 ) Carol Scheller / Switzerland
19/12/2013 14:57
How can Netanyahu look Kerry in the eye or shake his hand ? The Israeli Prime Minister is talented for undoing and blocking, with no yen for doing (Yes, we can !?) or creating openings. His people deserve better.

3 ) Julie / USA
19/12/2013 15:54
what a joke!! Palestine has already 'recognized' the state of izrael. the whole world knows izrael is at fault for destroying peace talks, they do NOT want peace! i wonder...can the UN revoke izrael's statehood? they have violated more UN resolutions than any other country, broken every peace treaty & cease fire, and they continue violating human rights & committing war crimes and crimes against humanity on a regular daily basis. the world needs to STOP THESE ZIONIST MONSTERS!!!

4 ) Maureen / Australia
19/12/2013 16:19
Only Israel is told to stop providing housing, roads, kindergartens , schools , universities, industrial parks, and forests, for their citizens, and return criminals to the bosom of their families.

5 ) Eric / Luxembourg
19/12/2013 17:02
"There is no peace because of the ongoing opposition to the existence of a national Jewish homeland within any borders, and we have the right to a state just like any other people." Right. Only the Palestinians have no right to theirs right Bibi ? What a Hypocrite. And btw.....there is no Opposition to Israel in the 67 BORDERS !!! Never was and never will be. The only Opposition there is, is against the ILLEGAL Settlements BEYOND these borders.

6 ) lor / US
19/12/2013 17:06
lier. No one told you that "there is no peace because of the settlements", but instead that to stop building settlements and exploiting the local natural resources is a needed step to a feasible coexistence. As for "judea and samaria":if u want to keep them u have to give back the coast between ashkelon and ashdod, that was never "israelite" in its entire history. Jewish state: no state has ever demanded that others, let alone its enemies, specifically recognize a particular claim to legitimacy

7 ) jenya / usa
19/12/2013 18:02
palestinians only demand things and they dont give nothing in return. thats not how negotiations work. everybody cares about settlements. instead of saying dont release those prisoners/murderers who killed innocent people they only talk about settlements which israel builds on their biblical territory. next palestinians will demand 1948 borders. they will never stoip demanding. simple recognize jewish state and not just state of israel may be u wull have the state but thats obvioulsy hard

8 ) Mel / USA
19/12/2013 18:09
Ya vohl Herr Beeebster! LOL.
Zionism uber alles,Commandant Beebster! Who could expect any more from Bibi? But Kerry shames himself,democracy,our Constitution & America,again!
Increase the global BDS on Israel over ALL areas of trade,academia,business,finance.
If Zionist-patron D.C. won't,or daren't,stop the ILLEGAL(misappropriated US-tax-payer checks)$#-10 BILL to occupying theocracy Israel,then the WORLD must isolate Israel more,until Jews choose between vicious Zionism & wider Judaism.

9 ) Maureen / Australia
19/12/2013 18:34
#4 the impostor! Israel is the belligerent, apartheid thief!

10 ) Tibi / Tubas
19/12/2013 22:04
The "Israel PM vows to continue settlement expansion".
The Palestinian PM vows to continue the resistance, and
- the settlement will expand.
- the resistance will continue, and
- Nothing else will change at all.

11 ) Colin Wright / USA
19/12/2013 22:40
To Brian Cohen #1: 'Palestinians have to make their minds up. ' Indeed you're right. However, what they should make their minds up to is not at all what you would suggest.

12 ) gabi / australia
20/12/2013 00:42
Bria Cohen - I have suggested many times that you read the Likud charter. Clearly, you have failed to do so. Because if you had, you will recognise that any pre-conditions set by Israel to "peace talks" are set out there - and they include: No Palestinian state, and build, build, build . . . Just read the bloody thing! The , perhaps, you can put your mouth into gear. (As to "most vile war criminals" being released, Israel's most vile war criminals don't get jailed - they get medals!)

13 ) Harry Monk / UK
20/12/2013 10:25
Eric, the Palestinians have their own homeland, in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This is an under-populated large country with vast undeveloped areas that badly need populating by Arabs.

14 ) m / m
20/12/2013 18:14
I would like to see what he said in the "..."

15 ) spb / us
21/12/2013 05:09
No can do #14 classified future palywood material
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