Israeli watchdog attacks Netanyahu over settlements

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 January, 2013, 3:09pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 January, 2013, 3:18pm

An Israeli watchdog says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s settlement policies during his four-year term show intent to make a Palestinian state impossible to create.

The Peace Now group said in a report released on Wednesday that nearly 40 per cent of construction starts during the Netanyahu era were in settlements deep in the West Bank, compared to 20 per cent under his predecessor. It says he approved large projects in particularly problematic areas.

The report was released a week before Israel’s election, which Netanyahu appears poised to win.

The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem. Since capturing these territories in 1967, Israel has moved 500,000 of its civilians there. Netanyahu says he’s willing to negotiate but wants to keep Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank.