Ma'an News Agency
November 30, 2009 - 1:00am

Members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s own party held a meeting on Saturday to voice outrage at a declared slowdown in construction of West Bank settlements.

Settler leaders were among the 200 members of the ruling Likud party who attended the meeting in the city of Ra’ana inside Israel.

The right-wing activists saved their most intense criticism for US President Barack Obama, who for 10 months has been urging a total freeze on the expansion of settlements on land taken from Palestinians.

"The Obama administration is an enemy of the Jews and the worst regime there ever was for the State of Israel," declared Yossi Naim, of the Beit Aryeh regional council, a quasi-governmental organization run by settlers in the northern West Bank.

"I announce to Obama: You won't be able to stop us," Naim was quoted as saying by the Israeli daily Haaretz.

The newspaper said Member of Knesset (MK) Dani Danon (Likud) organized the meeting after Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) attacked Obama's administration over the settlement issue, calling it "terrible."

On Wednesday Netanyahu declared a 10-month moratorium on construction in the Jewish-only settlements, but the ban does not apply to many buildings already under construction, and settlements in a swath of territory Israel considers within Jerusalem.

Obama’s administration welcomed the declaration, but officials stressed that it fell short of a total freeze. Obama’s envoy to the Middle East peace process, George Mitchell, said the measure was a unilateral Israeli move.

This did not stop settlers from blaming Obama for applying pressure on Netanyahu.

According to Haaretz, the mayor of the West Bank settlement of Ariel, Ron Nahman, called Netanyahu's announcement of the settlement freeze a disgrace, repeatedly referred to the US leader as "Hussein Obama," omitting his first name.


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