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Israel refuses to soften over settlements

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Israel refuses to soften over settlements


The United Nations Secretary-General has called on Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza strip.

Continuing to apply pressure on the Israelis, Ban Ki-moon has already urged them to restart talks with the Palestinians and to stop settlement building in the West Bank.

But that issue, along with mounting violence in the occupied territories, is undermining attempts by US envoy George Mitchell to get those so-called ‘proximity talks’ underway.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already told him before heading off for talks with President Obama that his government will not soften its stance.

“Our policy on Jerusalem is the same policy followed by all Israeli governments over the past 42 years, and it has not changed,” said Netanyahu. “As far as we are concerned, building in Jerusalem is the same as building in Tel Aviv. These are things that we have made clear to the U.S. administration.”

Entrenched positions- plus the apparent shooting of four Palestinians in two days by Israeli troops- are adding to the rising tension in the region.

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