Friday, September 30, 2011

Merkel questions new Israeli settlements

BERLIN (AP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Israel's decision to green-light new Jewish housing units in east Jerusalem has "raised doubts that the Israeli government is interested in starting serious negotiations" with the Palestinians.

Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in a statement Friday that Merkel has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tell him "it is now necessary to dispel those doubts."

Seibert says Merkel told Netanyahu it is important to start negotiations "as soon as possible" on a two-state solution and that in the meantime both sides must refrain from "provocative acts."

The Palestinians condemned the settlement plan after it was announced Tuesday, and the U.S., EU and U.N. all swiftly expressed their disappointment