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Ya'alon: Settlement construction will continue in spite of US pressure to stop

December 12, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Settlement construction will continue in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon said in a statement published by Israeli media outlets yesterday.

He claimed that the American administration had pressured Israel to halt the advancement of settlement plans but “this administration won’t be in power forever”, referring to Barack Obama’s administration which Ya’alon has clashed with numerous times.

Israeli sources claimed that the American administration could not use its veto power in the UN Security Council vote on the Palestinian-Jordanian proposal to set a timeframe for the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.

In a conversation with high school pupils from an Aran settlement in Bethlehem, Ya’alon said that he wants to advance plans for settlement construction and to build more but his government warned against this, “not to pull too hard on the rope with Washington”. In reference to Obama’s objections, he said “but this administration won’t be in power forever”.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that US Secretary of State John Kerry called for a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the Palestinian-Jordanian initiative proposed to the UN Security Council which calls for setting a timeframe for the end of the occupation of Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, as the Palestinian and Jordanian sides are insisting on proposing this during the Security Council meeting this month.

According to the newspaper, Netanyahu wants the US to use its veto power during the Security Council meeting, but according to Israeli sources, as of yesterday, the Americans have not promised to do so.

The US may ultimately decide to keep the initiative on the agenda, but in a more moderate form, it explained.

Israeli sources have told Haaretz that the American approach suggests that Israeli-American relations have reached rock bottom, claims which have been denied by the prime minister’s office. According to the office, the US is still studying the project and Kerry invited Netanyahu to hear his position in this regard.

Based on Israeli predictions, the US may want to keep diplomatic stability with the Arab counties cooperating with the US in its battle against the Islamic State (ISIS). Two weeks ago, Haaretz published a draft bill from the White House calling for it to refrain from using the veto power against draft bills submitted by international parties that do not align with the positons of the Israeli government and to impose sanctions.

Kerry and Netanyahu are also scheduled to discuss the draft bill prepared by France, Britain, and Germany in this regard, which will also be submitted to the Security Council for consideration. This bill also determines a time frame of two years to reach a settlement between the two parties. Two foundations of this bill include the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders and that Jerusalem is the capital of both states. This proposal is opposed by the Israeli prime minister.