‘US gave Israel ultimatum on settlement construction’

The US issued an ultimatum to Israel regarding construction in the West Bank, threatening to avoid vetoing at the UN a French resolution calling to declare the settlements illegal, Channel 2 reports.

The call to increase construction in the settlements as well as to establish new ones came from heads of local and regional councils in the West Bank and also from Jewish Home, a national-religious party which is a chief partner of Netanyahu’s coalition government.

Jewish Home today held a faction meeting in the Old City of Jerusalem, where a terror attack took place on Saturday, and the party’s ministers and MKs were unanimous in their call to expand construction.

Netanyahu vehemently opposed more construction, during the security cabinet meeting he headed yesterday.

According to Channel 2, senior White House officials told Netanyahu they are closely watching the decisions of the Israeli cabinet and warned that if Israel approves more building in the West Bank, it will come at a price.

“We will not risk international backing for some declaration of building or expanding construction in Itamar,” a senior official close to the prime minister is quoted by Channel 2 as saying.

“We need a sober diplomatic solution and not to act like high school children. You don’t do diplomacy by tweeting,” Netanyahu reportedly said at the meeting.

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