Lieberman: Take ‘settlement freeze’ out of our vocabulary

FM says moratorium on West Bank settlements failed and no further freezes should be considered, blames Arab-Israeli leadership for tense relations between Jewish and Arab citizens.

Lieberman growling at podium 311 AP (photo credit: Associated Press)
Lieberman growling at podium 311 AP
(photo credit: Associated Press)
There will be no additional settlement construction freezes and “we should take that term out of our lexicon,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Wednesday.
Lieberman, in an interview with Israel Radio, said it was clear that the moratorium on building housing starts in the West Bank “did not succeed in bringing about any breakthrough in the diplomatic negotiations.” He said that this showed that a settlement construction freeze was not the “right formula” for a breakthrough.
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“I think that the understanding that is growing is that apparently it will be impossible to reach a final agreement within a year, and that there is a need to think about an alternative, a plan B – a long term interim agreement.”
Also Wednesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told MKs at a Knesset plenum meeting that efforts were underway to find an effective channel with which to renew talks with the Palestinians.
“I hope that the Palestinians answer our call and I hope that [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] Abu Mazen tells the truth to his nation so that we can advance towards peace,” he said.
In the same forum, opposition leader Tzipi Livni said that the recent WikiLeaks documents showing that moderate Arab states had allegedly pushed for US action against Iran worked in Israel’s favor.
“Now there is a one-time opportunity that will enable the Arab states to support an agreement that will end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because they also understand that Iran takes advantage of the conflict,” she said.