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Netanyahu Warns on Settlements
By ISABEL KERSHNER
The New York Times
1 March 2011
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu berated leaders of his conservative-leaning Likud Party on Monday after they pressed him for more settlement construction, telling them that Israel was under international pressure and operating in a complex new reality in the Middle East.
“People don’t understand the reality they are living in,” Mr. Netanyahu was quoted as telling an assembly of Likud ministers and legislators, as well as some leaders of Jewish settler councils from the West Bank, who then passed on the remarks to the Israeli news media.
“If you don’t live in this world, you can ignore everything, and I suggest that you beware in order to protect the existing construction, because that’s what’s on the agenda, not the new construction,” Mr. Netanyahu said.
Settler leaders and their supporters have complained recently that no new building has been approved in some of the largest settlements, even though a 10-month Israeli moratorium on the building of new settlement homes expired last September.
Private building has been going on in many of the smaller settlements.
The Palestinians suspended peace negotiations when the moratorium ended and are refusing to resume talks as long as the building continues.
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