Israeli PM says he hopes to conclude settlements deal with US soon

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/3/26 23:14:21

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that efforts are still ongoing to reach an agreement with the Trump administration over the expansion of settlements in the West Bank.

Israeli and US teams met last week in Washington as part of the White House's effort to revive the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

The first round of four-day talks, headed by President Donald Trump's special representative Jason Greenblatt, was concluded on Thursday without an agreement on one of the most contentious issues -- the Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

On Sunday, Netanyahu told his weekly cabinet meeting that the "talks with the White House are continuing."

"I hope they will conclude quickly," he added.

He denied a report in the Hebrew-language Channel 2 TV news, according to which Israel agrees to limit the construction in the West Bank to settlement blocs.

In return, according to the report, Israel would build a new settlement for the former residents of Amona, an illegal outpost built on private Palestinian land that Israeli authorities evicted last month following a court order.

Netanyahu has been under heavy pressures by his right-wing coalition partners to keep the expansion of the settlements.

The Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are seen by most of the international community as an obstacle to peace as they are constructed on lands that Israel occupied in the 1967 Mideast War, where the Palestinians wish to build their future state.

The last round of talks between Israel and the Palestinians reached an impasse in April 2014, mainly due to the expansion of the settlements.


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