Netanyahu says settlement freeze will end, sort of

Monday, September 13, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau on Sunday reiterated that he will not extend a self-imposed 10-month building Jewish building freeze in Judea and Samaria (the so-called "West Bank") beyond its September 26 expiration date.

But Netanyahu also said Israel would not rush ahead with construction once the freeze ends..

"We will not build all of the tens of thousands of residential units that are in the planning stages," Netanyahu told visiting international peace envoy Tony Blair. "But we will not freeze the lives of the residents of Judea and Samaria and we will not freeze construction.".

Netanyahu imposed the freeze last November as a means of enticing the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas waiting until the very last minute to accept the gesture, and now insists extending the freeze is a precondition to continuing the renewed peace negotiations..

Netanyahu said he rejects any Palestinian preconditions, just as Abbas has rejected Israel's precondition that the Palestinians recognize Israel as "the Jewish state.".

Abbas has repeatedly threatened to end negotiations if any Jewish construction takes place in Judea and Samaria after September 26..

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