British PM to pan Israeli settlement activity in meeting with Netanyahu

PM to meet with UK counterpart on Monday in London.

February 2, 2017 13:51
1 minute read.
Netanyahu and May

Netanyahu and May. (photo credit: GALI TIBBON / AFP,REUTERS)


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will met his British counterpart Theresa May for talks in London on Monday, during which she is expected to say that a continued increase in Israel's settlement activity undermines trust in the peace process.

May's spokeswoman said the focus of the talks would be the bilateral relationship, including boosting trade when Britain leaves the European Union, as well as working together on "a range of shared challenges."

"I would expect the prime minister to set out the government's position that we think the continued increase in settlement activity undermines trust," she told reporters.

"Our focus is on how do we make a two-state solution with an Israel that is safe from terrorism and a Palestinian state that is viable and sovereign, work?"

Israel unveiled plans on Tuesday for 3,000 more settlement homes in the West Bank, the third such announcement in 11 days.

In December, Britain voted for a UN Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building.
UN Security Council passes resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building

"(May) will also be clear that we realize and recognize that settlements are far from the only problem in this conflict and we understand the position of the Israelis," the spokeswoman said.

US President Donald Trump has signaled he could be more accommodating toward the settlements than his predecessor, and in turn Netanyahu has praised Trump's plans to build a wall on the Mexican border. Netanyahu is due to meet Trump on February 15.

Last week, May became the first foreign leader to meet Trump since his inauguration, and EU allies fear Britain could indulge him by changing its stance on Iran and Israel in the hope of a post-Brexit trade deal.

Trump's team has spoken of moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Israel's capital and a holy city at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. May's spokeswoman said Britain had no intention of following suit.

She also said May would reiterate her support for the Iran nuclear deal, something Netanyahu and Trump have both often criticized.

"We believe it is vitally important for regional security," she said. Staff contributed to this report.

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