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Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells settlers 'nobody will be uprooted'

Jerusalem: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday told Israeli settlers marking 50 years since the Six-Day War he would keep building across the occupied West Bank and
that no one would be "uprooted from his home".

File image of Benjamin Netanyahu. AP

File image of Benjamin Netanyahu. AP

It was unclear if Netanyahu was suggesting no settlements would be dismantled in any peace deal with the Palestinians, which would mark a significant change and raise further doubts over future possibilities of a two-state solution.

A spokesman for Netanyahu did not respond to a request for further explanation.

Netanyahu was speaking in parliament at a special session marking 50 years since the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel's occupation of the West Bank began, to an audience of lawmakers and invited settler leaders.

"Everyone has the right to live in his home and nobody will be uprooted from his home," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu has said he still supports a two-state solution, but peace advocates allege his actions show otherwise.

Proposals for future peace deals with the Palestinians typically involve land swaps, with far-flung settlements evacuated and larger settlement blocs remaining under Israeli control.

His comments came as Netanyahu faced heavy criticism from settler leaders who accuse him of failing to advance settlement projects.

The settlers, pillars of support for Netanyahu's right-wing government, are still smarting over the February demolition of the Amona rogue settlement outpost in the West Bank.

Settler leaders this week accused Netanyahu of a de facto construction freeze after reports emerged of moves to advance plans for some 2,500 settler homes instead of a far larger number they were expecting.

He spoke today of a plan to rehouse Amona evacuees at a new site in the West Bank, which Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now says would be the first new government-approved settlement in about 25 years.

Construction in recent years has involved expanding existing settlements in the West Bank, with many countries warning it is gradually eating away at any chance of a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

Published Date: Jun 14, 2017 16:30 PM | Updated Date: Jun 14, 2017 16:30 PM

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