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Israeli PM says will not freeze building settlements in occupied West Bank

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said there will be no change in the plan to build illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Netanyahu’s remarks on Monday followed a meeting held in Aqaba, Jordan on Sunday, with the participation of Palestine, Israel, Jordan, the US and Egypt.

The Israeli premier denied reports by the Israeli media that Israel, following the meeting, decided to freeze the construction of new settlements in the occupied West Bank for four months.

“Construction and arrangement in Judea and Samaria (the Jewish name for the occupied West Bank) will continue according to the original planning and schedule without any changes. There is not and will not be any freezing,” Netanyahu tweeted.

Following the meeting on Sunday, Jordan’s foreign ministry reported that Palestinian and Israeli delegates agreed to halt any unilateral measures for a couple of months.

“This includes an Israeli commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for 4 months and to stop authorisation of any outposts for 6 months,” the ministry had said.

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De-escalation on ground

Participants in the Aqaba meeting agreed to convene again in Egypt’s Red Sea city of Sharm El-Sheikh in March.

However, Israel’s Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir said in a tweet: “What happened in Jordan (if it happened) stays in Jordan.”

The Aqaba meeting was the first of its kind since US-sponsored peace talks between Palestine and Israel collapsed in 2014 over Israel’s refusal to halt settlement building and release Palestinians imprisoned before 1993.

The meeting came amid tensions across the occupied territories following Israeli military raids into Palestinian towns.

At least 62 Palestinians were killed by Israeli army fire in the West Bank since the start of this year, according to Palestinian figures.

Israeli-Palestinian talks kick off in Jordan’s Aqaba

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