Freeze settlement construction as a gesture to continue peace talks instead of releasing terrorists, 15 MKs from Labor, Hatnua and Shas wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu late Monday night.
Knesset Caucus for the Solution of the Israeli-Arab Conflict chairman Hilik Bar (Labor) and MK Omer Bar- Lev (Labor) initiated the letter.
In the letter they asked Netanyahu to commit to a building freeze over the Green Line instead of releasing “prisoners who murdered and committed acts of terror against Israelis and are responsible for the death of innocent citizens.”
“We ask the Israeli government, the Americans and the Palestinians to immediately switch the gesture of a fourth release of prisoners and terrorists with a settlement construction freeze for the duration of our negotiations with the Palestinians,” the letter read.
“Mr. Prime Minister, a settlement freeze can always be stopped and defrosted, but to go back on freeing more prisoners and murdering terrorists is impossible,” the MKs added. “Their release also brings the danger that they may return to terror and harm Israeli citizens.”
The letter said that freezing construction over freeing terrorists will “calm many in the Zionist Right” and support bereaved families.
It would show the world that human life is more important than building settlements, the letter added, which could have an adverse effect on talks.
“This is certainly the right way to show Israel’s seriousness and commitment to negotiations,” Bar stated. “This should have been the original decision, and it is unfortunate that releasing terrorists was chosen first. It’s better to fix the mistake later rather than never.”
Bar-Lev said Netanyahu has an opportunity to lead and not be led and that the moral thing to do is freeze settlement building, as that is Israel’s best interest.
Other MKs who signed the letter are Eitan Cabel, Shelly Yacimovich, Nachman Shai, Moshe Mizrahi, Stav Shaffir, Itzik Shmuli, Erel Margalit, Miki Rosenthal, Michal Biran and Avishay Braverman of Labor, David Tsur from Hatnua and Ya’acov Margi and Yitzhak Cohen of Shas.