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Israel will not evacuate more settlements, Netanyahu pledges


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's vow to never evacuate Jewish settlements from occupied land drew outrage Tuesday from Palestinians and complicated matters for the Trump administration's would-be peace envoys as they try to restart talks. "This is something the United Nations should not accept", Netanyahu told Guterres Monday prior to their meeting in Jerusalem.

He accused Iran of building sites to produce "precision-guided missiles" in both Syria and Lebanon. To avoid genuine "bias" in their pursuit of peace, future US policymakers will have to accept this fact - and resolve to make indefinite occupation less comfortable for Israel than it now is.

The trip comes as the U.N. Security Council debates renewing for a year the mandate of its peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, with a vote expected on August 30.

The Russian press reported that the Israeli prime minister told Putin that the Guards of the Islamic Revolution of Iran and Hezbollah fighters have been preparing to attack Israel by using Syria as a springboard.

Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at the United Nations in the presence of Guterres, who is in the Middle East to try and facilitate the resumption of peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

Netanyahu has said repeatedly that he is committed to the status quo there. Guterres also plans to meet with Israelis living along the border with the Gaza Strip and visit various United Nations facilities.

"Not compelling Israel to respect and implement UN Security Council resolutions weakens our people's confidence and trustworthiness in the UN to bring about peace and security, and reinforces the oppression practiced against our people", Hamdallah said.




His meeting with Netanyahu was part of a three-day visit that ends Wednesday and came with the two-state solution, long the focus of worldwide diplomacy, under threat.

On Wednesday, Guterres, who met with Netanyahu on Monday, is expected to visit the Israeli-blockaded, Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

Guterres started his three-day trip to Israel and Palestine on Monday.

The UN peacekeeping force's mandate is up for renewal at the end of the month and Israel is pressing for the force to have an increased presence to better monitor and prevent what Israel says is "Hezbollah" building up its weapons.

"This is an Israeli message to the U.S. administration, which sought through an important tour in the area to do something in order to rescue the peace process", he said.

The following day, the secretary-general will meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other P.A. officials in Ramallah.

"I have said several times there is no Plan B to a two-state solution", the secretary-general continued.

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