Barak: 50/50 chance deal on freeze can be reached

Netanyahu instructs ministers not to discuss moratorium with media; Likud MK Danny Danon says activists plan settlement building.

ehud barak 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
ehud barak 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that he is returning to Israel from New York to try to convince the government of the need to compromise on the issue of the moratorium on West Bank settlement building which is scheduled to end Sunday night. Barak's comments came in an interview with the BBC aired on Sunday.
"I think the chance of achieving a mutual agreed understanding about the moratorium is 50/50," he said. "I think the chances of having a peace process is much higher.
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"I hope it will not be blocked by this moratorium issue and that we will sail full engines forwards [to] substantial negotiations and agreement," Barak said.
The Prime Minister's Office on Sunday spoke with government ministers about meetings held Saturday night in which the impending end of the moratorium was discussed, asking them not to grant interviews to the media on the subject.
Netanyahu convened a meeting of his advisers to discuss strategy regarding the scheduled end of the moratorium on Saturday night.
Attempts to find a compromise between the sides have failed so far. The Palestinians have said they will leave the month-old talks if construction resumes in full on land they want for an independent state.
Israeli settlers and their supporters have pressured Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to end the restrictions on new construction.