Settlers in Israel are complaining bitterly that Jerusalem has instituted a de facto freeze on new construction even though it is unofficial; critics of Israeli policy continue to complain bitterly that building is continuing, impeding the peace process.
Welcome to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s world.
This past Sunday, one of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ top aides said, “The resumption of [peace] talks requires tangible steps, the first of them a freeze on settlements.”
It’s hard not to be overcome with a sense of déjà vu. Ten months ago, Israel ordered a 10-month freeze on settlement building, with the hopes of resuming peace talks. So what happened? Peace talks did resume, just last month. That was all well and good, until the Palestinians decided to play games.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Don't expect a familiar American echo now that West Bank settlers are gearing up to fight the possible extension of Israel’s settlement freeze.
Activists on the left and right in Israel usually get their allies in the American Jewish community to fight for the cause of the day with congressional lobbying and protests to Israeli and American officials.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled he would heed, in part, an appeal from President Obama to continue the settlement freeze.
"Between zero and one there are a lot of possibilities," Haaretz quoted Netanyahu as telling his Cabinet ministers on Sunday. Other media quoted similar remarks from the prime minister, suggesting that he is considering quashing some -- if not all -- of the thousands of building permits set to kick in when the partial moratorium he imposed last fall expires on Sept. 26.
JERUSALEM (JTA) -- A settlers' umbrella group unilaterally ended the West Bank construction moratorium in response to the terrorist attack near Hebron.
Hundreds of settlers gathered at sites throughout the West Bank to begin construction on several structures whose building was delayed by the freeze on building in the West Bank, which began in late November 2009 and is to end Sept. 26.
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- At the launch of renewed peace talks, Arab leaders called on Israel to sustain a settlement freeze and to negotiate final status issues.
"We call on the Israelis to carry out their obligations, including a freeze on settlements activities, which is not setting a precondition but a call to implement an agreed obligation," Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, said in remarks delivered before he dined at the White House with President Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Egyptian and Jordanian leaders.
As clock runs down on building moratorium, West Bank residents in limbo about Bibi’s next move.
Beit El, West Bank — Two months ago this settlement was the site of a violent clash, when residents sought to block Israeli security forces from enforcing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s settlement freeze by demolishing the foundations of a building.