'If building continues, talks to be suspended'

Chief Palestinian negotiator Abed Rabbo says "an end to construction is needed so that peace process can progress."

Abbas speaks Obama looks on (photo credit: Associated Press)
Abbas speaks Obama looks on
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Chief Palestinian Negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo claimed that a continuation of  building in the settlements will lead to a suspension in direct negotiations and the whole political process, Israel Radio reported Monday.
"An end to construction is needed so that the peace process can progress," Abed Rabbo said during a interview with Palestinian Voice Radio.
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British Foreign Secretary William Hague was set to urge Israel to renew the building moratorium in the West Bank amid fears the expiry of the 10-month ban could "scupper Middle East peace efforts," according to Israel Radio on Monday.
Hague said there is "widespread international concern" that the issue could derail the latest direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Bulldozers in began operating Monday morning in the West Bank settlement of Ariel as the ten month settlement freeze came to an end.
Residents of the town woke up to hear construction work beginning on over 50 new housing units set to be built in the south east of the settlement.
The new neighborhood will house families that were evacuated from the Gaza Strip during the 2005 disengagement.
Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shaul Goldstein said that construction will be renewed at a slow pace because of Sukkot.
In an interview with Army Radio Golstein said "it's Sukkot so we will not be building so much this week."
Israel’s 10-month moratorium on new construction in the West Bank settlements expired at midnight Sunday, but Israel and the Palestinian Authority have agreed to devote another week to finding a compromise that will keep the recently relaunched direct talks from breaking down over the issue.
As the moratorium expired at midnight, the Prime Minister's Office put out a statement calling on Abbas to "continue the sincere and good talks that have just begun, with the goal of reaching a historic  peace agreement between our two peoples."
The statement said that in the last few days Netanyahu had intensive contact with Clinton and other senior officials in the US Administration.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.