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Israel losing friends because of its settlements: Official

Last Updated : Friday, February 08, 2013 2:50 AM

Mohammed Mar’i
Saudi Gazette

RAMALLAH – A senior Israeli official said that West Bank settlements were causing Israel to lose the support even of its best friends in the West, a report said Thursday.

The Israeli daily Haaretz quoted National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror as saying in closed-door discussions in the Prime Minister’s Bureau that “it’s impossible to explain this matter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel or even to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.”

“Construction in the settlements has become a diplomatic problem and is causing Israel to lose support even among its friends in the West,” he was quoted as saying.

The report said that though Amidror has long been considered politically right-wing, in his work as national security adviser he has taken a very moderate line, based on the professional analyses done by his own staff.

Days before the UN granted nonmember observer status to the Palestinian Authority last November, Amidror reportedly opposed responding with new settlement construction, a view shared by Yitzhak Molcho, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s special envoy for negotiations with the Palestinians. He warned against the plans to advance the building of 3,500 Jewish homes in the E-1 corridor, which links occupied Jerusalem with the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim.

On Wednesday, Israel’s Channel 10 reported that Amidror will fly to the US next week, together with Molcho, ahead of US President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to Israel. Molcho will reportedly deal with the substantive preparations for the presidential visit, while Amidror will work on the more technical aspects. Obama is scheduled to arrive in late March or early April. US and Israel diplomats have officially stated that Obama will not bring a peace proposal with him.

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