As the international community demands a complete halt in Israel’s settlement activities, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims his "one-time" and "temporary" settlement freeze shows Israel is after peace with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu last week announced that Israel had agreed to freeze all settlement activities, except in Jerusalem Al-Quds, for 10 months in a bid to re-launch stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The move was not welcomed by the Palestinians and the international community alike as since it does not include east Jerusalem or 3,000 homes already under construction in the West Bank.
Under the 2002 Roadmap for Peace plan brokered by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia, Israel has to "dismantle settlement outposts erected since 2001 and freeze all settlement activities."
The settlement freeze has also infuriated Jewish settlers as well as hard-line Israeli parliament members from Kadima party and Netanyahu’s own party, Likud.
Speaking to his Cabinet, Netanyahu said the temporary freeze "served the wider interests of Israel" and added, "The state of Israel wants peace in the clearest possible sense."
He also stressed that the freeze was a "one-time, temporary decision."
"This suspension is for its stated timeframe and not beyond. In the Cabinet decision, we made it clear that upon the conclusion of the period of suspension, construction will resume," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu said he met with leaders of the settlements last week in an attempt to ease tensions which are expected to grow as the leaders have vowed to keep confronting security forces sent to enforce the edict.
In the latest wave of unrest on Sunday, the Israeli police dispersed 100 right-wing demonstrators, who blocked roads near the West Bank settlement of Kedumim to prevent inspectors from entering the community to search for unauthorized construction.