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Israeli PM offers new benefits to settlers

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Israel's prime minister on Thursday offered additional funds and new social benefits to tens of thousands of Jewish settlers in a move seen as an attempt to soothe tensions over new restrictions on construction in the West Bank.

The Palestinians say the Israeli freeze is insufficient because it excludes east Jerusalem and more than 3,000 homes already under construction in the West Bank. The Palestinians claim both areas, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, for a future state. They insist on a total freeze before peace talks resume.


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