Settlement Moratorium Irks Rightist Israelis

While Israel has already defied a 10-month settlement freeze it had earlier announced, settlers and right wing politicians say they "will do everything" to continue the illegal constructions.

"We will do everything we can to build despite the restrictions," said a spokesman for Gershon Messika, the director of a regional settlement council in the occupied West Bank.

"This is the beginning of a struggle to continue the construction," the spokesman, David Haivri, was quoted by AFP as saying on Sunday.

Under pressure from the international community, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a 10-month moratorium on issuing building permits for new homes in the West Bank.

The move is claimed to be a gesture towards setting the grounds for the resumption of long-stalled peace talks with the Palestinians. However, within a week of announcing the freeze, Israel approved construction of 28 more settlement buildings as well as tourist attraction sites.

Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, a Likud member of Knesset (the Israeli Parliament), said the 10-month freeze "will do nothing but reinforce Palestinian demands."

Israeli Environment Minister Gilad Erdan also said he was "completely opposed" to the decision.

"As most Likud members, I am guessing that this measure will not get the Palestinians to the negotiating table," he added.

The comments come while the Palestinian side has repeatedly called for a "complete" and "permanent" halt to the settlement activities as a prerequisite for peace talks.

The moratorium, however, excluded occupied and annexed East Jerusalem Al-Quds as well as the construction of public buildings in the West Bank. It also allows for the completion of hundreds of units already under way.

Palestinians have rejected Israel’s move as political one and not a step towards peace.

(Press TV)

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