PM: Don't Pick on Settlers

Prime Minister says Jews of Judea and Samaria 'deserve to live a normal life, like anyone else.' Arabic paper: Israel agreed to extend freeze.

Gil Ronen , | updated: 14:50

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu voiced support Monday for one of the most viciously maligned populations in the world – the Jews who live in Judea and Samaria. The settlers “deserve to live a normal life like anyone else,” Netanyahu said, “and this is our policy, too – to make sure they can live normal lives.”

"The most difficult decision we took was the decision to suspend new construction in Judea and Samaria for ten months", he said, adding, "The settlers in Judea and Samaria have been under unjustified attack for almost half a century.” 
Netanyahu said that his government carried out the ten-month freeze on Jewish construction despite the difficulty this involved, but also noted that Israel now has “a vital interest” in continuing the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. Israel is conducting “sensitive” diplomatic contacts with the U.S., he said, in order to find a solution that would make it possible to continue the talks.
"This is not the time to make proclamations,” Netanyahu said, in a hint probably directed at nationalist leaders, settlers and the news media. “We have no interest in causing tempests, and I cannot deny every false report that appears in the media."
Israel, he added, will quietly find a solution to the complex situation, “far from the spotlights.” 
London-based Arab newspaper A-Sharq Al-Awsat reported Monday that Netanyahu has agreed to extend the building freeze in Judea and Samaria for another period of time, but that he has made certain conditions. The newspaper said Netanyahu wants “permission” to continue building projects that have been started in the few days that have passed since the ten-month freeze expired. He also reportedly wants a guarantee that he will not be asked for any further freeze periods after that one.