Israel is currently facing significant international pressure against its schemes to build more settlements in the occupied territories, the prime minister has acknowledged.
Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking during a meeting with Likud Party leaders late on Monday, said his government exerted tremendous efforts to maintain new settlement plans and secure a US veto to torpedo an Arab-proposed resolution at the Security Council to condemn these schemes, according to Israel radio.
The radio added on Tuesday that some right-wing local leaders requested new construction tenders to build more settlements in the West Bank, but Netanyahu indicated to them that the government was taking into consideration external pressure, thus approval of new settlement plans might prove unwise at present.
Netanyahu, according to the Israeli mass-circulation, Haaretz, is being eyed with suspicion by influential international quarters regarding his capacity to press ahead with the peace efforts for reaching a viable settlement.
His government has adamantly rejected extension of a freeze on settlements’ construction that expired in September to pave the way for resuming the peace talks with the Palestinians. For its part, the Palestinian authority has linked its acceptance to sit again at the negotiating table to halting construction of settlements.
The United States, in the middle of February, used the veto power, scuttling Arab efforts to pass a resolution condemning the Israeli settlement strategy. The resolution, backed by some 125 UN member states, was intended to condemn the building of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as a major hurdle on the path toward peace.