Monday, September 27, 2010

Israelis ready to resume construction


Israelis have planned to resume settlement activities in the occupied West Bank as soon as the partial freeze ends at midnight on Sunday.


Residents of a new neighborhood in Revava settlement in the northern West Bank have already brought in cement trucks and bulldozers, AFP reported.

Israel imposed a freeze on the settlement projects last November, but the figures from Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics show that the number of homes built during the nearly 10-month halt declined by only about 10 percent.

The issue is one of the main barriers in the way of US-sponsored talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas.

In a UN speech on Saturday, Abbas, who earlier warned to leave the talks, said that Israel "must choose between peace and the continuation of settlements."

Israeli leaders have, however, repeatedly announced that the moratorium will not be extended.

Once the freeze expires, 13,000 new housing units are ready to go up, with plans already approved by Israel, said settlement watchdog group Peace Now.

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