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UN seeks settlement freeze from new Israeli government

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem following his party Likud's victory in Israel's general election on March 18, 2015Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government must take steps to freeze Jewish settlements that are threatening to “kill the very possibility of reaching peace,” the UN’s Middle East envoy said Thursday. In his final report to the Security Council as Middle East coordinator, Robert Serry said “I frankly do not know if it is already too late” to revive peace talks aimed at the establishment of a Palestinian state. “The minimum conditions of trust cannot be restored without the new Israeli government taking credible steps to freeze settlement activity,” the Dutch diplomat told the 15-member council. The appeal from the top UN envoy came as Netanyahu began talks on forming a new government after vowing in a campaign speech that he would never allow the establishment of a Palestinian state under his watch.

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