Wednesday, November 25, 2009

PM Netanyahu asks cabinet to approve temp. 10 month West Bank freeze on new residential building permits

Netanyahu's comments at the start of cabinet meeting to discuss a halt in new West Bank settlement construction:

"Under the current international circumstances, this step moves the broad national interests of Israel forward. This is not a simple step, not an easy one, but it has more advantages than disadvantages. It enables us to present to the world a simple truth- the Israeli govt. wants to enter negotiations and is very serious in its wish and its intentions to move the peace process forward."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said at the security cabinet meeting, "The freeze on West Bank settlement construction is a responsible and reasonable decision." Furthermore, said Barak, the aim of the freeze would be to keep the window open for a renewal of negotiations with the Palestinians.

"Israel is powerful and has a strong deterrent capability, but time is not necessarily on our side," continued the defense minister. "It is imperative to move towards a two state solution. There are no alternatives."

Barak said that he hoped that the Yesha leadership, which is undoubtedly patriotic, responsible, and serious, would "understand the need for this decision at this time." Barak went on to say that the security cabinet's decision was based on an understanding with the United States pertaining to renewed negotiations.