Israel`s Likud to back West Bank settlement growth
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Last Updated: Friday, June 25, 2010, 00:11
Jerusalem: Israel's right-wing Likud party was on Thursday debating a motion to back the expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, with an eye to a building spurt when a moratorium on construction expires in September.

Some 2,500 members of the party's policy-making central committee were debating the motion which "supports building and developing throughout the Land of Israel including... Greater Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria."

Judea and Samaria are the biblical names for the West Bank Greater Jerusalem includes mainly Arab east Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed immediately after.

The debate was proposed by hardline legislator Danny Danon in a bid to emphasise the party's wholehearted support for a return to construction when the freeze expires in September, although neither the moratorium nor the deadline was mentioned in the wording of the draft resolution.

"The essence of today's decision is that the Likud movement is saying to its leaders, Knesset members, ministers, the prime minister: 'We are committed to building in Judea and Samaria on September 26' when the (freeze) order runs out and we resume building," he told Israel's educational TV channel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reluctantly imposed a 10-month ban on new building last November following months of US demands for gestures to help relaunch peace talks with the Palestinians suspended during the 2008-2009 Gaza war.

But the Palestinians dismissed the move as insufficient because it did not include projects already under way, public buildings or east Jerusalem, which they claim as the capital of their future state.


First Published: Friday, June 25, 2010, 00:11

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