Netanyahu: No Freeze, but We won't Build in Full Force
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel will not extend the freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria past the end of September, but will not carry out all of its planned construction there either.
In a meeting with Middle East Quartet representative Tony Blair, Netanyahu explained that he has no intention of accepting the Palestinian Authority's demand that the ten-month freeze be extended. “It won't happen,” he said. “Israel cannot extend the freeze.”
"On the one hand – we will not build all of the tens of thousands of residential units that are in the planning stages,” he said, “but on the other hand, we will not freeze the lives of the residents of Judea and Samaria and we will not freeze construction.”
Netanyahu said it “made no sense” to let the PA turn the freeze extension into a precondition for negotiation with Israel. He explained that while he wants the PA to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, he is not making that a precondition for holding talks. In the same way, “it makes no sense that the Palestinians are now stating preconditions and threatening to leave the talks. This is no way to advance seriously toward a peace treaty.”
US President Barack Obama said Friday that he had urged Netanyahu to extend the construction moratorium “as long as talks are making progress.”