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Edelstein: Settlement construction is not obstacle to peace
Knesset speaker meets senior Italian officials in Rome, says 'as far as Israel is concerned Judea and Samaria are disputed, not occupied, territory'
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein held a round of meetings with senior Italian officials including Italy's foreign minister, in Rome on Tuesday.

 

During one meeting he addressed the issue of construction in the West Bank in the backdrop of negotiations with the Palestinians. "Construction is not an obstacle to peace," he told Italian officials, citing Israel's Gaza pullout in 2005.

 

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Edelstein asserted that unilateral steps have failed to prove effectiveness causing only death and danger to Israelis. "As far as Israel is concerned, Judea and Samaria are not occupied territory, but disputed territory," he stressed.

 

The speaker asked his Italian counterpart, Laura Boldrini, to enlist Italy's Chamber of Deputies against the European Union's boycott of entities beyond the Green Line.

 

He also asked that Italy challenge the Council of Europe's decision to promote legislation restricting male ritual circumcision.

 

Appearing before members of the Italian parliament's foreign affairs committee, Edelstein addressed questions on Israel's nuclear policy.

 

Asked why Israel demands that Iran dismantle its nuclear program while refusing to do the same, he said: "That's like a criminal saying he wants a gun because the cop has one."

 

He further explained that if Iran is allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon, it will open the door to a fierce arms race in the Middle East.

 

The world needs to ask itself why an energy-rich nation invests so many resources in an alleged nuclear energy program, he said.

 

 

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