Defense Minister Ehud Barak thinks there is a 50-50 chance that Israel and the Palestinians will return to the negotiating table before September but that Israel cannot stop settlement construction, he told France 24 in an interview on Friday.
"I hope that it's at least 50-50, probably more than 50-50," the defense minister answered when asked what chances are that peace talks will resume between Israel and the Palestinian Authority before Palestinians plan to ask the UN for recognition of statehood in September.
In response to a question about the Palestinian demand for a West Bank settlement construction freeze before talks begin, however, Barak said, "There is no real way to announce an end of construction. There's half a million people living there. They need a new kindergarten every week."