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. Pinellas detectives investigating shooting that led to car crash

    Public Safety

    LARGO — Pinellas Sheriff's detectives are investigating a shooting that investigators said led to a man crashing his car after he was shot in the abdomen early Tuesday.

  2. Trump tweets, McCain return set stage for health bill vote (w/video)

    National

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump urged Republicans to "step up to the plate" for Tuesday's crucial Senate vote on their bill eviscerating much of the Obama health care law. The stage was set for high drama, with Sen. John McCain returning to the Capitol to cast his first vote since being diagnosed with brain …

    President Donald Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, and others, speaks about healthcare, Monday, July 24, 2017, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington. [Associated Press]
  3. Teenage driver livestreams crash that killed sister in California (w/video)

    Accidents

    FRESNO, Calif. — A teenage driver lost control of her car while she was livestreaming on Instagram and recorded part of the crash that authorities say killed her younger sister in California.

    This July 22, 2017 photo provided by the Merced County Sheriff, shows Obdulia Sanchez in Merced, Calif. Sanchez has been arrested in California on suspicion of causing a deadly crash that she recorded live on Instagram. She was booked into the Merced County Jail on suspicion of DUI and vehicular manslaughter after Friday's crash that killed her 14-year-old sister and badly injured another 14-year-old girl. [Merced County Sheriff via AP]
  4. Fiancee: Clearwater driver in truck trafficking case helped people

    Nation

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When a long-haul truck driver from Clearwater called his fiancee Sunday from a jail more than 1,000 miles from home, he had only a few minutes to describe the gruesome events that led to him being charged with a crime in which he could face the death penalty.

    James Mathew Bradley Jr., 60, of Clearwater, center, is escorted out of the federal courthouse following a hearing, Monday, July 24, 2017, in San Antonio. Bradley was arrested in connection with the deaths of multiple people packed into a broiling tractor-trailer. [Associated Press]
  5. Citizens fill a Pinellas County School Board meeting in 2016.