Barak: Israel unlikely to extend current settlement curbs

Defense Minister says he doesn't believe freeze will be canceled entirely, leaves option for compromise with Palestinians to continue talks.

September 5, 2010 17:08
Defense Minister Ehud Barak at OC Central Command.

Barak 311. (photo credit: Ariel Harmoni)

JERUSALEM — A slowdown in West Bank settlement construction is unlikely to continue in its current form after it expires at the end of this month, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday.

Settlement council declares building freeze over
Netanyahu faces coalition threat if freeze extended

However, Barak said he does not believe Israel will cancel entirely the 10-month curbs. Barak appeared to be leaving room for a compromise that might allow the Palestinians to continue the fragile direct negotiations that began in Washington last week.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he warned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last week that he will leave the current peace talks if Israel doesn't extend the slowdown.

Barak noted that Israel had permitted limited construction in settlements during the slowdown and he expects some construction to continue after the September 26 deadline.

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