Israel Halts Plans to Explore New SettlementsSubmitted by Bob-45 on Wed, 11/13/2013 - 02:25
Nov 12, 6:35 PM EST
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel's prime minister on Tuesday abruptly halted a plan to explore the potential construction of thousands of new homes in West Bank settlements, saying it had created an "unnecessary confrontation" with the international community that threatened to weaken his campaign against Iran's suspect nuclear program.
The plan announced by Israel's Housing Ministry earlier in the day had prompted a Palestinian threat to walk out of U.S.-brokered peace talks and drew angry criticism from officials in Washington, who said they had been blindsided by the move.
In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had asked his housing minister, Uri Ariel, to "reconsider" the plan. He noted that Ariel, a member of the pro-settlement Jewish Home Party, had drawn up the plan "without any advance coordination.