Merkel Meets Netanyahu Amid Tense Relations

0 Posted by - December 6, 2012 - Foreign Affairs, Military

 Merkel Meets Netanyahu Amid Tense RelationsIsrael’s prime minister brushed off international uproar over a planned new settlement project near Jerusalem, claiming Thursday that Israel will keep the area under any future peace deal in any case.

Israel’s plans to build 3,000 new settler homes in the corridor east of Jerusalem triggered sharp criticism in Europe — including from Germany, traditionally one of Israel’s most stalwart allies. The move came after the U.N. General Assembly voted to support a Palestinian statehood bid — with Germany abstaining rather than voting against.

Netanyahu’s tough comments were the latest sign that he has no plans to step back from his plans to develop the area. On Wednesday, initial plans for the project were unveiled, though officials stressed it could be years before construction actually begins.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared anxious to downplay tensions between the two countries, saying after meeting Netanyahu that, as far as Israeli settlements on land that the Palestinians want for a future state are concerned, “we agree that we do not agree.”

Palestinians say building settler homes in the so-called E1 corridor would make it impossible for them to establish a viable state in the West Bank.

CONTINUED at North Jersey.

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