Merkel tells Israel's Netanyahu to freeze settlements

The World Court has ruled all settlements illegal under international law.

Merkel tells Israel's Netanyahu to freeze settlements
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday progress on the freezing of Israeli settlement building was of crucial importance for the resumption of the Middle East peace process and time was pressing.

U.S. President Barack Obama demands a complete freeze of all Israeli building on the occupied West Bank, but the Netanyahu government has insisted on ongoing constructions.

"We must make progress in the peace process ... and a stopping of the settlement (building) is very important," Merkel said at a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the German capital.

The World Court has ruled all settlements illegal under international law. The United States and European Union regard them as obstacles to
peace.

"Time is of the essence," she added.

Palestinians, who want their own state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, see the settlements as a land grab as an occupier "state".

Palestinian leaders have said U.S.-backed peace negotiations with Israel could not resume unless there was a complete halt to settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.


Agencies
Last Mod: 28 Ağustos 2009, 11:17
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