President Obama is very clear :
“The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop. “
Benjamin Netanyahu is equally clear : (according to a spokesman) ” I have no intention to construct new settlements, but it makes no sense to ask us not to answer to the needs of natural growth and to stop all construction, there is no way that we are going to tell people not to have children or to force young people to move away from their families”.
The U.S special envoy, George Mitchell, has begun a visit to the region to push for peace , and will, of course be calling on Palestinians to take steps in the direction of an agreement too, but this issue – over settlements which are illegal according to international law (though Israel denies this) – has had a lot of you talking .
We’ve got an audience in Portland Oregon today who’ll be sharing their views with the rest of you.
Why can’t Israel just stop the settlements ? Or should they be allowed to accomodate “natural growth” ?