Thursday, June 25, 2009

Israel Cancels US~Israel Meeting

Despite President Obama and VP Biden repeatedly trying to bully Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not caved in.

US-Israel talks in Paris aborted

A meeting between Israel's prime minister and a senior US envoy has been cancelled amid growing differences over settlement building in the West Bank.

Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot said the US put off the meeting in response to Benjamin Netanyahu's refusal to heed US demands to halt settlement activity.

But Mr Netanyahu's aides say it was the prime minister who cancelled Thursday's meeting with George Mitchell in Paris.

They said "more professional work" was needed
, without adding further details.

Instead, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak is now scheduled to travel to Washington on Monday to meet Mr Mitchell.

Mr Netanyahu has arrived in Paris from Rome, on his first trip to Europe since he took office.

He is promoting his hawkish line on Iran, seeking harsher sanctions over its nuclear programme.

US State Department officials confirmed that the bilateral talks in Paris had been postponed, but they did not explain why it was necessary for their envoy to see Mr Barak on Monday instead.

'Unnatural growth'

US President Barack Obama has called for a freeze on construction of settlements, which are widely viewed as illegal under international law.

Mr Netanyahu has said he will not build additional enclaves in occupied Palestinian territory - but he wants to continue building within existing settlements to foster what Israel views as their "natural growth".

Link to Article

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