Shalom criticizes possible settlement freeze

Vice Premier Silvan Shalom on Sunday night criticized a possible freeze in settlement construction, several hours after an agreement was confirmed between the Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak authorizing the construction of 500 new housing units in the West Bank. Netanyahu intends to authorize the new units, and only then consider a freeze "for a few months" on further construction, a source in the Prime Minister's Office had told The Jerusalem Post before the weekend. Speaking at a toast with Likud activists in Ramat Gan, Shalom said that a settlement freeze as a precondition for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meant that the final price would be paid before the start of negotiations, which he said was unthinkable.
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