Tractor in settlement 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file[)
Fifty-seven settlements are to begin building just one day after the freeze ends, Army Radio reported on Monday.
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The settlement construction moratorium will expire at midnight on
September 26, unless the full cabinet decides to extend it either in
full or in part, and the 57 settlements reportedly already have all the necessary permits to begin construction the following day.
The news comes as direct peace talks are set to begin, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is due to leave for Washington on Tuesday.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas warned on Sunday that the Israeli government alone would be held responsible
for the failure of the talks if it continued to build in the
settlements."Our position toward settlements and their illegal status
hasn't changed," he said.
Also on Sunday, Netanyahu made it clear that he did not back various compromise proposals regarding
settlement building, whereby it could resume at the end of September
inside the large settlement blocs, but not beyond the security barrier.Speaking at a meeting of Likud ministers, Netanyahu said that these ideas were those of
Intelligence Agencies Minister Dan Meridor and other cabinet members,
but not the government’s.
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Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.
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