PM to Blair: 'Israel cannot continue moratorium'

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September 12, 2010 19:16
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In an apparent indication of the type of compromise of the settlement moratorium that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has in mind, he told Quartet Envoy Tony Blair on Sunday that Israel would neither stop all construction in the territories after the moratorium ends September 26th, nor build all the tens of thousands of housing units that are in various planning phases.

"The Palestinians want that after the 26th of September there will be no building in Judea and Samaria, and that will not happen," Netanyahu said. "Israel cannot continue the moratorium."

"On the other hand," Netanyahu said, "we will not build all the tens of thousands of housing units that are waiting in the planning pipelines, but on the other hand, we will not freeze life for the residents of Judea and Samaria and will not freeze construction."

Netanyahu told Blair that he is not making the Palestinian Authority's recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people as a precondition for negotiations, and is not saying that if the Palestinians do not recognize this condition, that Israel will walk away from the negotiations.

"In the same vein, it is not logical that the Palestinians now place preconditions and threaten to abandon the talks. That is not the way to seriously progress towards a peace agreement," Netanyahu said.

The prime minister's came in response to the repeated Palestinian threats to walk away from peace talks if Israel does not extend the settlement moratorium. 

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