JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israel will give up settlement outposts in exchange for U.S. support in dealing with the threat from Iran, Benjamin Netanyahu said.
The prime minister told his Likud Party faction Monday that Israel will have to accede to the demands of the United States to remove the West Bank outposts in order to focus its attention on the Iranian nuclear threat, according to Israeli news reports.
"I identify the danger, and that’s why I am willing to take unpopular steps such as evacuating outposts. The Iranian threat is above everything," Netanyahu reportedly said. "There are things on which you have to compromise."
Later, he added, "There are reasons to preserve our good relationship with the United States."
Netanyahu also repeated his promise that construction would be allowed in established legal settlements to accommodate natural population growth.
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Ehud Barak will tell U.S. officials during his visit to Washington next week that Israel will dismantle 26 West Bank outposts in the next few weeks, as long as natural growth construction is allowed to resume in existing settlements, Ynet reported.
The Israeli position came out of a late-night meeting Sunday between Barak and Netanyahu.
Barak is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and National Security Adviser James Jones.