Monday, December 3, 2012

Netanyahu pushes back against pressure to rescind settlement plans

(JPost) Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pushed back Monday against intense international pressure to reconsider plans to build 3,000 housing units and go ahead with planning the controversial E1 site, with sources in his office saying no one should expect Israel to sit on its hands in light of Palestinian unilateral steps at the UN.

As one European country after the next called in Israel's ambassador to protest the settlement plans, a source in the PMO issued a statement saying that Israel would "continue to stand up for its vital interests even in the face of international pressure."

The official said there will be no change in the decision made Friday to build 3,000 housing units in the large settlement blocks, and to go ahead with planning and zoning work for the E1 neighborhood linking Jerusalem to Ma'ale Adumim northeast of the capital.

"The Palestinian unilateral moves at the UN is a blatant and fundamental violation of agreements to which the international community was a guarantor," the official said. "No one should be surprised that Israel is not sitting with its arms folded in response to the unilateral Palestinian steps."

The source added that Israel would take further steps if the Palestinians went ahead with further unilateral moves of its own.