Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, accused on Friday that Palestinian side for staling peace talks, and claimed that renewing the construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank should not have any effect on peace talks. Netanyahu stated that Israel held negotiations with the Palestinians for 17 years and at the same time was constructing and expanding settlements, and added that this issue never affected the talks.
The Israeli Prime Minister further stated that a “restrained” settlement construction in the West Bank will not affect the peace process, and called on the international community to pressure the Palestinian Authority in resuming talks with his government.
Netanyahu’s statements and stances come amidst extensive intervention from the United States and the European Union.
Over the past several days, European Union High Representative, Catherin Ashton, repeatedly urged Netanyahu not to resume settlement activities in the occupied territories.
Similar appeals were made by the United States in order to avoid further obstruction in peace talks with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu claimed that his government is trying to find a solution to the issue; he added that the recently expired 10-month freeze was not easy, and that he now expects the Palestinian Authority “to be more flexible”.
Netanyahu and his coalition partners, mainly from the far right, believe that Israel has the right to build Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, including in occupied East Jerusalem.
Settlements in the occupied territories violate the Fourth Geneva Convention and the International Law as they clearly state that an occupying power cannot move all or part of its population into territories it occupies.