Tags: settlements israel talks

Settlement Building Ban Ends on West Bank

Monday, 27 Sep 2010 06:43 AM


JERUSALEM - A 10-month moratorium on new housing construction in Israeli settlements in the West Bank expired at midnight Sunday, adding strain to already fragile Middle East peace talks. But with U.S. diplomats working intensively to keep the peace process going, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he would not immediately follow through on an earlier threat to quit the negotiations, The Washington Post reports.

In the West Bank, settlers poured concrete for a new day-care center in a symbolic resumption of building and vowed to resume work in settlements throughout the territory, which Palestinians want for a future state. The Palestinian leadership had said it would withdraw from recently renewed negotiations if the building freeze was not extended, but appeared Sunday to be allowing more time for diplomacy.

Heading a coalition dominated by right-of-center parties opposed to a halt in settlement-building, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has rebuffed pressure by the Obama administration to extend the building freeze, while suggesting that some limits would be placed on future construction. On Sunday he called on the settlers to show "restraint and responsibility" after the freeze expired, in an apparent attempt to blunt the diplomatic impact of the resumption of building.

The extent of renewed construction remained unclear, and settler leaders said much depended on permits that would need the approval of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the leader of the center-left Labor party. Settler leaders said there would not be an immediate burst of large-scale construction, but a gradual return to previous building patterns.

Read the entire story at Washingtonpost.com

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2010-43-27
Monday, 27 Sep 2010 06:43 AM
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