Obama says Israeli settlements making two-state solution impossible

Wed Jan 11, 2017 9:40am EST
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The right-wing Netanyahu has accused the Obama administration of being obsessed with settlements and not recognising what he called "the root of the conflict - Palestinian opposition to a Jewish state in any boundaries."

Netanyahu, for whom settlers are a key constituency, has said his government has been their greatest ally. The Palestinians want the West Bank and East Jerusalem, along with the Gaza Strip - which Israel also captured in 1967 but withdrew from in 2005 - for an independent state.

The last U.S.-brokered peace talks broke down in 2014.

Washington deems settlement activity illegitimate and most countries view it as an obstacle to peace. Israel cites a biblical, historical and political connection to the land - which the Palestinians also claim - as well as security interests.

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell; editing by Mark Heinrich)

Palestinian labourers work at a construction site in the Israeli settlement of Efrat, in the occupied West Bank, December 29, 2016. REUTERS/Baz Ratner