Thursday, January 11, 2007

Too Early to Brag, Dick

Did he speak too soon?

U.S. ambassador to Israel: U.S. reduced W. Bank settlements

Despite its support for Israel, the United States opposes expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and has succeeded in reducing it, the U.S. ambassador to Israel told The Associated Press.

In an interview on Tuesday, Ambassador Richard Jones said that while Israel approves construction of some new settlement housing each year, Washington insists that Israel honor a pledge to freeze settlement activity made under the U.S.-backed 'road map' peace plan in 2003.

"I think that we have definitely slowed efforts at settlement-building," Jones said. "It's certainly true that some units are approved every year, a couple of hundred here or there, but I think the U.S.-Israeli understanding has definitely slowed down the process of settlements. We continue to make our views known through public statements and private discussions."


Settlements population rises 6%

Published: Wednesday, 10 January, 2007, 11:29 AM Doha Time

JERUSALEM: The Jewish settler population in the occupied West Bank grew by nearly 6% in 2006, more than quadruple the rate of increase a year earlier, Israeli government figures showed yesterday.

The interior ministry statistics did not indicate how many of the new arrivals were children born in the 126 settlements Israel has built in the West Bank on land Palestinians want for a state, or Israelis moving to the territory.

According to the ministry, there were 268,379 Israelis living in the West Bank at the end of 2006, compared with 253,748 in 2005, a 5.8% increase.

The settler population grew by 1.4% in 2005. The figures did not include Israelis living in Arab East Jerusalem.

Israel has continued building in settlements in violation of a US-backed peace road map that contains a call for a freeze in settlement construction.

Condi, wasn't that a robust growth?

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