An ice breaker is one of the most wanted commodities in the Middle East. In the midst of winter, who isn't dreaming of a thaw? Both Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vainly hoped for an ice breaker on Monday that would bring Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table. Noam Schalit has been lobbying the Knesset, hoping to crack the resolve of those politicians who oppose a prisoner swap to release his soldier son Gilad from captivity at the hands of Hamas. Meanwhile, settlers have also been yearning for the 10-month freeze on new Jewish construction in the West Bank to melt away. On Monday, settlers decided that what was needed was a few good men to break some ice. And they did just that, literally, to protest the construction freeze that has stopped them from starting to build new homes. Outside a white protest tent they had set up last week in front of Netanyahu's official home on the wide concrete sidewalk leading into the capital's Paris Square, they unloaded large white ice cubes from a truck. Cube by cube, they built a small four-sided structure. They placed a red plastic roof on top and stuck an Israeli flag into one of the cracks between the cubes. Wearing rubber gloves, Tzvika Bar-Hai, South Hebron Hills Regional Council head, took a large pick ax and swung it straight into the structure, scattering the cubes. "The lives of 300,000 residents in Judea and Samaria cannot be frozen," said Bar-Hai. Efrat Council head Oded Ravivi said that these days, "it's cold in Judea and Samaria," and that he feared the chill would spread to the rest of the country. A short distance down the sidewalk a few women sat at another protest tent, this one for abducted tank gunner Gilad Schalit, and that image of ice immediately resonated. On top of their tent hung the sign that shows the number of days Schalit has been in captivity - 1,289. As they watched photographers, videographers and reporters crowd around the ice cubes, the Schalit activists decided to show that their cause was also frozen. They took a large painting of him in chains from their tent and moved it just behind the now scattered cubes, which had started to melt on the sidewalk. "It's symbolic," said one of the volunteers, Inbar Slook, "because as long as he is not free, it is as if he is encased in ice. "No one seems to be doing anything," Slook said. "Gilad is also frozen," in Gaza.