Israel 'to keep' parts of West Bank
Israel's prime minister has reaffirmed his country's commitment to retaining parts of the occupied West Bank, undermining US efforts to restart talks aimed at eventually establishing a Palestinian state.
During a tree planting ceremony in a West Bank settlement, Binyamin Netanyahu said that parts of the territory would be kept by Israel under any final peace agreement reached with the Palestinians.
"Our message is clear: We are planting here, we will stay here, we will build here, this place will be an inseparable part of the state of Israel forever," he said.
Netanyahu also pledged that Israel would keep its two biggest settlements in the West Bank, Maale Adumim and Ariel.
The Israeli prime minister's comments came as George Mitchell, the US envoy to the region, visited in an attempt to restart negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel, which were suspended a year ago.