Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman rejected claims that Israel's decision to renew West Bank settlement construction was a provocative move meant to torpedo the current round of peace talks at a Monday press conference in New York. Lieberman was scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

Lieberman said that the Palestinians had "refused to accept the gesture of the moratorium for nine months" and today they are pressuring Israel to continue the very freeze they rejected.

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The foreign minister expressed his belief that the Palestinians did not enter into direct negotiations with "good intentions" of arriving at a peace agreement, but rather they did so only because of pressure from the US.

Lieberman stated that Israel's intention from day one when they first began the moratorium was to resume building after ten months. He said that Israel was ready to continue the peace talks with no preconditions.

When asked about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's call on settlers to exercise restraint, Lieberman said that the end of the moratorium was "not a reason to celebrate."

"We will continue our normal lives, we are a responsible government," said Lieberman.



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