Israel angered by talk of US sanctions
ReutersNabil Abu Rdaineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, rejected the accusation that the Palestinians were to blame for a lack of progress toward a statehood deal. "Israel continues settlement building in violation of the road map," Abu Rdaineh said. Under pressure from Obama, Netanyahu imposed a limited, 10-month moratorium on November 25 on housing starts in West Bank settlements, saying he hoped this would help restart negotiations suspended for the past year. But he excluded East Jerusalem and nearby annexed areas of the West Bank, and Abbas has not budged from his demand for a complete settlement freeze before talks can resume. Asked about Mitchell's remarks, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz called U.S. loan guarantees a "token of friendship" but said Israel had no plans to use those available for 2010 and 2011.
Israel's ire stirred by suggestions of US Sanctions
In Israel, ire has been stirred by recent suggestions of US sanctions, related to negative acts on the part of Israel, according to a Reuter's article.
The continued development of housing projects contrary to an agreement with the Palestinians is one such negative act , contrary to the peace process, which has caused the US to consider financial sanctions.
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A U.S. peace envoy’s suggestion that Washington could penalize Israel financially to force it into making concessions to the Palestinians drew Israeli ire on Sunday.
“Under American law, the United States can withhold support on loan guarantees to Israel,” George Mitchell said on U.S. television on Wednesday after being asked about the kind of pressure that could be brought to bear on Israel.
Over the past two decades, Israel has received U.S. guarantees covering billions of dollars in loans, underwriting that has been instrumental in raising money overseas more cheaply.
Although such guarantees have slipped in importance and Mitchell made clear in the U.S. public television interview that no sanctions against Israel were being considered, the remarks added more discord to Israeli relations with President Barack Obama’s White House.
In a statement late on Saturday “in reaction to media inquiries after Mitchell’s interview,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office blamed the Palestinians for a peacemaking impasse which the envoy, due back in the region later this month, has failed to break.
“Everyone knows that the Palestinian Authority refuses to renew peace talks, while Israel took significant steps to restart the process,” the statement said.
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