Israeli Defence Minister's remarks risk US upset


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The Independent Online

American criticism of Israel’s settlement policies has slowed down construction in the West Bank, Israel’s Defence Minister said yesterday, adding that he hopes the slowdown will be “temporary” because the Obama administration “won’t be around forever”.

Moshe Yaalon has previously derided US peace efforts in the Middle East, calling Secretary of State John Kerry “obsessive”. Speaking yesterday at a Jewish seminary in the occupied West Bank, Mr Yaalon said Israel wants to build more settlement housing but that global criticism, led by the US, has prompted restraint.

“We are very, very careful not to push the envelope too much,” Mr Yaalon said. “This (US) administration won’t be around forever.”