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Israel sees talks with PA stalled until after US elections

Most settlement building still on hold

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Israel sees talks with PA stalled until after US elections

Israeli officials see little chance of breaking the current stalemate with the Palestinian Authority over renewed direct peace talks until after the Obama administration gets past the US midterm elections next Tuesday.

"We are constantly seeking ways to restart talks with the Palestinians, but haven't succeeded, so far. We estimate that nothing new will happen until after the congressional elections at the beginning of November," a senior source in Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's office told a Chinese news agency on Tuesday.

"The American demand to continue the freeze is still in effect, but, so far, no formula has been found that will allow that," the source said, adding "as things look now, the total moratorium as it's been implemented in the past ten months will not happen again. What is possible is a limitation o
n the extent of construction for a limited period."

Leaders of the settler movement complained yesterday that the government has only given lip service to lifting the freeze on new building in Jewish communities in the West Bank. “The cities of Judea and Samaria are effectively frozen,” Naftali Bennett, director-general of the main settler council, told The Jerusalem Post. “The government has promised to stop the freeze, yet it is continuing it.”

The de facto freeze is not only affecting the more ‘ideological’ settlements located deeper in the territories, but also the ‘consensus’ settlements near the pre-1967 Green Line. Two of the largest communities, Beitar Illit and Ma’aleh Adumim, have almost run out of permits for new building starts and the government has so far not issued any new ones.

“While Ariel is frozen, a new Palestinian city, Rawabi, is being built with tens of thousands of houses just 10 minutes away. If the land in Judea and Samaria is under dispute, why is only Jewish construction frozen?” asked Bennett.


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