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Settlements Could Spark Protests, Bibi Warned

Mideast experts warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week that construction policies in the settlements or the burning of a major mosque by extremists could help trigger a violent uprising in the West Bank.

The meeting with Netanyahu, which lasted about 90 minutes, took place Tuesday evening.

The burning of a major mosque by Jewish extremists was the greatest risk, the experts said. Violence could also be sparked, they said, if Netanyahu’s plan goes through to build 850 new housing units in the West Bank, especially if the diplomatic stalemate between Israel and the Palestinians continues.

The implementation of construction plans without diplomatic progress could undermine the Palestinian people’s support of President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the experts said. It could also weaken the Palestinian security forces that are keeping a lid on violence.

The experts included professors Shimon Shamir, Emmanuel Sivan, Meir Litvak, Eyal Zisser and Anat Lapidot. Also present was Brig. Gen. (res. ) Shalom Harari – a former Arab affairs adviser to IDF Central Command, the Defense Ministry and the Israeli delegation to the Madrid and Oslo peace talks.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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