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Updated: January 29, 2010 20:07 IST

Israeli PM: Israel to keep key settlement forever

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A file photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A file photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says a key West Bank settlement will remain part of Israel in any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

Mr. Netanyahu was speaking on Friday at a tree-planting ceremony in Ariel, a large Jewish settlement in the West Bank that is situated on land the Palestinians claim as part of their future independent state.

Mr. Netanyahu made similar comments at two other West Bank settlements this week after meeting a U.S. envoy who is trying to renew peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

His remarks have angered Palestinians who insist all settlement construction end before negotiations resume. They could also complicate Washington’s efforts to promote peace talks.

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