Sunday, May 24, 2009

Netanyahu defies Obama on Israeli settlement freeze


24 May 2009 14:19:15 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Adam Entous


JERUSALEM, May 24 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday rebuffed U.S. calls to impose a freeze on all settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, setting the stage for friction with President Barack Obama.

"We do not intend to build any new settlements, but it wouldn't be fair to ban construction to meet the needs of natural growth or for there to be an outright construction ban," Netanyahu told his cabinet, according to officials.

The note of defiance came less than a week after Netanyahu held talks in Washington with Obama, who wants Israel to halt all settlement activity, including natural growth, as called for under a long-stalled peace "road map".

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