Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Israeli move over housing poses threat to peace talks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the plans create unnecessary confrontation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the plans create unnecessary confrontation.

JERUSALEM — Israel's prime minister abruptly halted a plan Tuesday to explore the potential construction of thousands of homes in West Bank settlements, saying it had created an "unnecessary confrontation" with the international community that threatened to weaken his campaign against Iran's suspect nuclear program.

The plan announced by Israel's Housing Ministry earlier in the day prompted a Palestinian threat to walk out of U.S.-brokered peace talks and drew angry criticism from officials in Washington, who said they had been blindsided by the move.

In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had asked his housing minister, Uri Ariel, to "reconsider" the plan. He noted that Ariel, a member of the pro-settlement Jewish Home Party, had drawn up the plan "without any advance coordination."

"This step does not contribute to settlement. On the contrary, there is damage here for settlement," Netanyahu said. "This is a meaningless step — legally and in practice — and an action that creates an unnecessary confrontation with the international community at a time when we are making an effort to persuade elements in the international community to reach a better deal with Iran."

The statement said Ariel had accepted the request.

The issue of settlement construction has been at the heart of a standstill in peace efforts in recent years.

The Palestinians claim the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories captured by Israel in 1967, for an independent state. They say Israeli settlement construction on occupied lands is a sign of bad faith. More than 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

The ministry refused to say how many of these homes were in settlements. But the antisettlement watchdog group Peace Now, which closely monitors construction activity, said the plans included nearly 20,000 apartments in the West Bank and 4,000 in east Jerusalem.

In all, Peace Now says Netanyahu's government has given final approval for nearly 3,500 new homes in Jewish settlements since taking office last March. In addition, it has promoted plans for nearly 9,000 additional homes.

Israeli move over housing poses threat to peace talks 11/12/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 12, 2013 11:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans

    Blogs

    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  2. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?

    Blogs

    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  3. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo

    Nation

    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  4. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies

    News

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  5. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win

    Colleges

    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.