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Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories

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Settlement Freeze Still the Hot Topic

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PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/MITCHELLMonths on, and the buck still stops with the settlements.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is now in Europe to meet in London with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown today and US peace envoy George Mitchell on Wednesday. He will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Thursday.

According to our latest article , the settlement freeze controversy  will dominate discussions, though Netanyahu is also keen to coordinate with Britain and Germany on opposition to Iran’s nuclear program.   (For more information on Netanyahu’s Europe trip, check out our factbox.)

In the midst of the debate, some organizations say that settlements continue to grow.

“On the eve of the visit,” says Reuters Allyn Fisher-Ilan, “Peace Now, an Israeli group opposed to Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory, said on Sunday that despite a government moratorium announced last week on approving new housing in the West Bank enclaves, more than 40,000 more homes could be built under plans already ratified.” Settler groups complain that families living there are being constrained by hindrances to building.

In case you’ve missed it…

If you happened to miss Israeli Prime Minister Benajamin Netanyahu’s speech Sunday evening (June 14), or if you would just like to have another listen, we’ve uploaded it for you. The version below has simultaneous English translation.

Naturally, there was plenty of reaction from all quarters in the region. In the edit below, you can listen to comments from Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (an advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas); Judy Kramer, a resident of the Ofra settlement; Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri; and a number of residents of Gaza. Some of the soundbites are in Arabic. If you want to follow along with an English translation, click here.

Obama-Netanyahu meeting – what the public saw…

One of the most closely watched meetings for decades between an Israeli Prime Minister and a US President took place yesterday when Messrs. Obama and Netanyahu sat together at the White House.

The two men met for two hours - during which time Obama pressed the ‘two state solution’ to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a reluctant Netanyahu, while Netanyahu underlined his belief that Iran was a more pressing concern than Palestinian statehood.

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