'Netanyahu will not freeze West Bank settlements'

Official source says the prime minister won't heed US request to halt settlement construction.

May 25, 2013 23:07
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu 370. (photo credit: Gali Tibbon/Pool)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu nearing his second declaration in four years on a building freeze in the West Bank in order to facilitate the renewal of peace talks with the Palestinians?

The answer is probably no.

An official source in Jerusalem told The Israel Post that "Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] received this opportunity once. This will not happen again."

"If the Palestinians want to talk they know we are waiting for them at the table," the source said.

After four years rounds of talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah in the last two months in an effort to renew the stalled peace process US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday in Tel Aviv that that the decision making time has arrived and the ball is in Netanyahu and Abbas's court.

“We are reaching the time where the leaders need to make hard decisions,” Kerry said.

Kerry urged Israel to voluntarily halt settlement activity, but added that the demand for such a freeze, as a pre-condition to direct talks, was not helpful.

“We are trying to get to talks without pre-conditions,” said Kerry. "We do not want to get stuck in a place where we are arguing about a particular substantive issue that is part of a final settlement that and that argument takes you so long, that you never get to the negotiations that bring about the final settlement,” Kerry said.

The Palestinians insist that they would not talk with Israel until it had halted West Bank settlement activity and Jewish building in east Jerusalem.

Israel has refused to cede to that request and has insisted that talks should be held without pre-conditions.

On Saturday, Welfare Minister Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) said that Israel should dismantle isolated settlements immediately without waiting for negotiations, Israel Radio reported.

"These settlements cost us a lot of money and we must do the utmost so we do not appear to be a state that does everything to scuttle negotiations," Cohen said in a cultural event at Holon Theater.

Cohen added that Israel had lost control of the settlers in some instances and in particular it had lost control of the "hill-top youth."

"We must deal with this youth and bring them back to normal behavior," Cohen said.

Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN

Cookie Settings