12:00 AM, August 26, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 26, 2010

No to longer settlement slowdown

Says Israeli FM

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Ap, Afp, Jerusalem

Israel's foreign minister says it's unacceptable to extend the country's West Bank settlement slowdown even as Mideast peace talks get under way.
Avigdor Lieberman says continued restrictions on construction would "punish" Israelis living in the settlements.
Lieberman suggested yesterday on Israel Radio that Israel resume construction in major settlement blocs expected to remain in Israeli hands under a future peace deal, while limiting building elsewhere.
Israeli settlers warned yesterday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will face his "day of judgment" if he caves in to pressure to further limit settlement construction in the West Bank.
"This is not a time to mince words as this is literally a day of judgment for our prime minister and government," said Naftali Bennett, head of Yesha, the main association of settlers in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territory.
Yesha warned in a letter to Netanyahu of "serious diplomatic and political implications" if he reneges on his promise to resume issuing building permits for settler homes when a partial, 10-month moratorium ends on September 26.
A 10-month moratorium on most West Bank construction expires Sept 26. Israel is under pressure from the US to extend the slowdown.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not said what he will do. If he resumes construction, the Palestinians say they will walk away from peace talks slated to start next week.

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