Monday, June 1, 2009

'US may reduce Israel support in UN'

Jun 1, 2009

The Obama administration is considering reducing its support for Israel in the UN if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not agree to freeze settlement construction, US officials were quoted by the New York Times as saying.

According to Monday's report, measures under consideration included refraining from the Security Council veto of United Nations resolutions that Israel opposes and making use of US President Barack Obama's "bully pulpit" to criticize the settlements

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PM: Demand to halt natural W. Bank growth 'unreasonable'

Jun 1, 2009

The American demand to freeze settlement construction for natural growth is not reasonable, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Monday.

Surrounded by bodyguards, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, arrives for a meeting of the foreign affairs and defense committee at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, Monday.

SLIDESHOW: Israel & Region World

The premier thereby confirmed a exclusive Jerusalem Post report published Monday stating that despite intense pressure from the Obama administration to do so, Israel will not freeze settlement construction for natural growth.

Speaking to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in his first address since taking office, Netanyahu also confirmed the Post story according to which he would remove illegal settlement outposts.

Netanyahu said "we are ready to renew negotiations immediately and without preconditions. We are willing to pursue also a diplomatic track, not just the economic-security track. We do not wish to rule over the Palestinians, but we won't allow them to build an army and to forge an alliance with Iran."

"We will not build new settlements. Our intention is to dismantle illegal outposts. There are reasonable demands and there are unreasonable demands. The fate of the settlements will be determined in a final status agreement," he continued.

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