Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated on Monday that he will not dismantle any of Israel's settlements in the occupied West Bank, Israeli media have reported. All of the settlements are considered to be illegal under international law.
Netanyahu made the announcement during a meeting of Likud Party parliamentarians in which he said that it is not necessary for Israel to respond positively to John Kerry's peace initiative. The US Secretary of State visited occupied Palestine last week to put forward a proposed framework for negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The prime minister told his Likud colleagues that he is confused regarding Kerry's initiative, saying that he did not know what to say to the Americans.
With regards to the settlements in the occupied West Bank, he said that he would not withdraw from any settlement outside the major settlement blocs which are very important for the Jews, such as settlements in Hebron and those near Jerusalem like Beit El. He apparently does not discuss the dismantling of settlements with Kerry when they talk about the peace process.
On the general situation in the Middle East, Netanyahu claimed that problems are not connected to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. "They are connected to Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood," he insisted, noting that many of the Arab leaders agree with him on this.