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Netanyahu Rejects U.S. Demand To Stop Settlement Building

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected U.S. demands that the Jewish state freeze Jewish settlements around Jerusalem.

The Israeli leader was speaking before departing for the United States where he is to address a pro-Israel lobby and meet with U.S. President Barack Obama.

In Gaza on March 21, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Israel to end its blockade on Gaza.

The blockade causes "unacceptable suffering" and "undercuts moderates and encourages extremists," Ban said after visiting a housing project in the Khan Younis refugee camp.

compiled from agency reports