Netanyahu: Israel Will Not Stop Settlements

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that his country will continue building existing settlements.

That position defies the Obama administration's call for all settlement construction to cease.
  
On Sunday, Netanyahu told his cabinet leaders that Israel did not intend to build new settlements but said it wouldn't be fair to ban construction for existing settlements. 

An Israeli spokesman said the settlement issue should be decided during negotiations with the Palestinians but until then, normal life should continue within the settlements.   

The issue of the settlements has become a source of contention between the Netanyahu government and the Obama administration. 

Nearly 300,000 Jews live in the area known as the "West Bank," land the Jews call the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria. Some refer to it as "occupied territory."  

A closer look reveals it's disputed territory, whose future is supposed to be determined in negotiations with the Palestinians.       
 
Meanwhile a new poll by Tel Aviv University, reveals prevailing Israeli attitude toward Iran:

  • 81 percent of israelis believe iran will develop a nuclear bomb.
  • 30 percent would consider leaving israel if iran gets a nuclear bomb.
  • 51 percent support an immediate israeli strike on iran's nuclear sites.

An Iranian candidate for next month's Presidential elections boasted he could stop Israel with one strike and claimed Israel would not dare strike Iran if he was elected president.   

Meanwhile, Iran's nuclear aspirations are another area of disagreement between Israel and the Obama administration. Israel would like to see more aggressive diplomacy, economic sanctions, and a possible military strike to stop its nuclear program. But Obama wants to try negotiating with Iran at least until the end of 2009. 

Israel doesn't know if it can wait that long.

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