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January 10, 2014 | By Batsheva Sobelman, This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
JERUSALEM -- Israel announced plans Friday to build an additional 1,400 housing units in West Bank settlements and eastern Jerusalem, drawing fierce criticism and warnings of destroying the ongoing peace process. The construction plans were expected, as Israel has made a point of pairing off each release of Palestinian prisoners with high-profile declarations of settlement expansion, aimed in part at placating hawkish circles in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
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WORLD
April 22, 2014 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM -- With Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations still deadlocked a week before their current round expires, negotiating teams met Tuesday with U.S. envoy Martin Indyk in Jerusalem to discuss extending the troubled talks. Nine months of meetings between Israeli and Palestinian teams have yielded little agreement, and both sides' tough positions have stymied the effort to secure a framework for working toward a two-state solution to the conflict. The U.S.-mediated negotiations broke down last month over Israel's delay in releasing a group of Palestinian prisoners as promised.
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WORLD
September 27, 2010 | By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times
Israel's partial moratorium on West Bank construction expired late Sunday without a compromise aimed at keeping Palestinians from quitting recently relaunched Mideast peace talks. But intense negotiations under American mediation continued Sunday night and Palestinians gave no sign that a walkout was imminent. Shortly after the 10-month moratorium expired at midnight, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying he was prepared to continue efforts to resolve the settlement standoff in the coming days and calling on Palestinians to "continue the sincere, good talks we have just begun, with the purpose of achieving an historic peace agreement between our two peoples.
WORLD
March 3, 2014 | By Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON -- President Obama plans to urge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to support the U.S. framework for peace with the Palestinians when the two men meet in the Oval Office on Monday, according to aides familiar with the agenda. But Obama may also offer tougher talk than ever before on the importance of reaching a peace agreement and ending Israeli settlement construction in the occupied territories. In an interview published by Bloomberg News on Sunday, Obama told journalist Jeffrey Goldberg that the U.S. is still willing to defend Israel before the international community but that his ability to do that effectively may wane without a peace deal.
WORLD
September 15, 2010 | By Paul Richter and Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times
Despite prodding by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Israelis and Palestinians made little progress Tuesday toward resolving their standoff over Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank. The dispute will continue to loom over U.S.-brokered peace talks as they resume Wednesday in Jerusalem. For the third time in a week, American officials called upon Israel to extend its partial moratorium on construction, which is to expire toward the end of the month. Palestinians have threatened to quit the talks unless the moratorium continues.
OPINION
December 23, 2009
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton fumbled in Jerusalem last month when she hailed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to temporarily freeze West Bank settlement construction as "unprecedented," thereby suggesting it was somehow optimal. The 10-month freeze is far from ideal, because it allows completion of nearly 3,000 housing units and 28 public buildings already underway in the West Bank, and it doesn't include development in contested East Jerusalem. Still, it is important to acknowledge that this is is an unprecedented step for the right-wing Netanyahu, who has built a career out of opposing concessions to the Palestinians or negotiations for a separate state.
WORLD
December 25, 2012 | By Edmund Sanders and Batsheva Sobelman, Los Angeles Times
JERUSALEM - As Israel heads toward national elections next month, there's no shortage of hot-button issues that might dominate the campaign, including Iran's nuclear program, a call to draft religious students into the army and a growing budget deficit. Instead, politicians are falling back into familiar debates about West Bank settlement construction and stalled peace talks with Palestinians. The issue jumped to the forefront of the campaign this month when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu moved to approve or advance nearly 12,000 units of Jewish housing in the Jerusalem area and West Bank.
WORLD
October 3, 2010 | By Maher Abukhater and Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times
In the latest blow to Mideast peace talks, Palestinian leaders said Saturday that they had lost hope in U.S. efforts to find a solution to the settlement construction standoff and repeated their threat to quit direct negotiations unless Israel agrees to halt building in the West Bank. After a three-hour meeting in Ramallah, the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee and the Fatah party's Central Committee stopped short of announcing their withdrawal from the discussions and indicated they would continue to talk in the coming days to U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell, who left the region Friday after making little progress in crafting a compromise.
WORLD
September 3, 2010 | By Paul Richter and Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times
Israeli and Palestinian leaders formally reopened peace talks Thursday by setting a work plan for the next year, but adjourned without progress on their conflict over Israeli housing construction in disputed areas, an issue that threatens to quickly undermine the negotiations. Meeting at the State Department, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to meet again Sept. 15 and to work out an outline as the first step to reaching a final peace deal by next September.
OPINION
November 15, 2010 | By Hanan Ashrawi
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has reached a critical stage. For more than two decades, the two-state solution has been the basis of international efforts to make peace in the region. Yet the Israeli government's refusal to cease settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem will shortly render the creation of a territorially contiguous and viable Palestinian state impossible. A failure of the two-state solution will generate further instability in the region, strengthen rejectionist elements on both sides and likely mean that the conflict will drag on for generations.
WORLD
January 10, 2014 | By Batsheva Sobelman, This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
JERUSALEM -- Israel announced plans Friday to build an additional 1,400 housing units in West Bank settlements and eastern Jerusalem, drawing fierce criticism and warnings of destroying the ongoing peace process. The construction plans were expected, as Israel has made a point of pairing off each release of Palestinian prisoners with high-profile declarations of settlement expansion, aimed in part at placating hawkish circles in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
WORLD
November 5, 2013 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM - With U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry set to arrive for talks in Israel and the West Bank, tension between Israelis and Palestinians is peaking, with both sides seemingly entrenched in their positions and bracing for possible U.S. intervention. When the peace talks were renewed in July, the negotiating teams agreed that details of the meetings would remain private on the hope that keeping loaded issues out of the public eye would facilitate progress and prevent premature crises.
WORLD
August 13, 2013 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM -- Capping one of the busiest periods in settlement approval in years, Israel gave final planning permission to build about 900 more units of housing on land it seized in 1967, brushing aside U.S. and Palestinian objections ahead of peace talks scheduled to resume in Jerusalem on Wednesday. The development, quietly approved Monday, is located in Gilo, in the southern Jerusalem area. The announcement comes after Israel's Housing Ministry said Sunday it would publish tenders for 1,187 units of housing in the Jerusalem area and in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
WORLD
August 11, 2013 | By Edmund Sanders
JERUSALEM - For the second time in a week, Israel advanced plans for more than 1,000 new units of housing on land it seized in 1967, brushing aside U.S. pleas to curtail settlement construction while the Obama administration attempts to revive long-stalled peace talks. Israel's Housing Ministry said Sunday that it would publish tenders for 1,187 units of housing, including 793 units in Jewish developments in the Jerusalem area and 394 units in the West Bank. Palestinians say Israel's building announcements are sabotaging the renewed peace process, relaunched last month by Secretary of State John F. Kerry.
WORLD
August 7, 2013 | By Maher Abukhater
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian negotiators Wednesday expressed concern at reports of an Israeli plan to build a new Jewish settlement in a predominantly Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat warned that settlement construction “has a price and that this price will continue to grow” if Israel proceeds with its settlement plans, which he said could sabotage peace talks resumed only last week in Washington. Talks are expected to continue next week in Jerusalem following Israeli government approval to release 26 Palestinian prisoners out of 104 it agreed to release in four stages during the talks.
OPINION
August 3, 2013
Re "Israelis and Palestinians to confront tough issues," July 31 It is disappointing that the United States continues to show unconditional support for Israel even when our ally violates international law and ignores U.N. resolutions condemning its behavior. From 1972 to 2011, the United States has issued the only vetoes to 42 U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning Israel's behavior, most of which were related to the occupied territories. These negotiations would be unnecessary if Israel would respect U.N. resolutions and the International Court of Justice concerning settlements, borders, the right of return, the separation barrier with much of the West Bank and the status of Jerusalem.
WORLD
July 13, 2009 | Times Wire Reports
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invited the Palestinians to sit down immediately to talk peace, but the Palestinian leader rebuffed the call, saying that Israel must first halt all West Bank settlement construction. The settlement issue is a major sticking point in efforts to restart peace talks, which halted shortly before Netanyahu took office in March. The United States has also insisted that Israel freeze all settlement construction.
WORLD
July 29, 2013 | By Edmund Sanders
JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas weren't in the room Monday when preliminary peace talks resumed in Washington. But the fate of Secretary of State John F. Kerry's initiative depends on the political courage and fortitude of these two leaders. Better known as cagey strategists than risk takers, Netanyahu and Abbas will each need to overcome considerable political opposition from within their ranks, a deeply pessimistic public and a mutual distrust that some fear may be unbridgeable.
WORLD
July 20, 2013 | By Edmund Sanders
JERUSALEM - As part of a U.S.-backed proposal to restart peace talks, Israel has agreed to release an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners, but will not freeze settlement construction in the West Bank, a top Israeli official said Saturday. The comments came a day after U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced that he was close to a formalizing an agreement to bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table for the first time in three years. Though Kerry pleaded with both sides to keep the details of the pending agreement confidential and allow him to be the only source of information, both sides scrambled Saturday to put their own spin on the deal.  Since Kerry has declined to release specifics about what he says he brokered on Friday, the conflicting claims could not be confirmed.
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