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Settlers step up resistance

JERUSALEM: Israeli settlers blocked roads, scuffled with police and pelted officers with eggs on Sunday, in the most aggressive display of resistance yet to the government’s ban on new housing construction in West Bank settlements. Trying to calm the tensions, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged the pain his order has caused to the settlers. But he said the freeze was necessary to demonstrate that Israel is serious about seeking peace, and he criticised the Palestinians for rejecting the gesture.

Mr. Netanyahu announced the 10-month halt in most West Bank construction late last month in an attempt to restart peace talks, which broke down a year ago. The settlement freeze has infuriated Jewish settlers and their backers in Mr. Netanyahu’s hard-line coalition, and government inspectors have been harassed while trying to enforce the ban. On Sunday, protesters blocked inspectors from reaching the settlement of Kedumim by laying in the road leading to the community.— AP

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