On Wednesday Bibi, expecting that he will get cabinet approval, will announce a 10-month settlement construction freeze for the West Bank. A statement this week from the Prime Minister’s office said:
As part of our efforts to give impetus to peace talks with the Palestinian Authority and promote Israel’s comprehensive national interests, the prime minister will ask the security cabinet to approve a temporary suspension on construction permits for new residences and the [actual] start of new residential construction for a period of ten months.
Jewish settlement Construction in the West Bank, as most know, began in 1967 after defeating a Jordanian attack during the Six-Day War. Today there are more than a quarter of a million Israelis who live in these West Bank settlements.
The freeze will not include East Jerusalem â€“ which is a thorny issue. Jews do not consider the area part of the West Bank settlements, whereas Palestinians say that it is exactly that. The freeze will also not apply to construction that has already been authorized, or to do work on public buildings which is deemed to conducive to normal life.
The Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told reporters in response to the statement by the Israeli camp, that a settlement freeze without halt in construction in Jerusalem is unacceptable. The Palestinians dream of having Jerusalem as the capital of their state.
Fayyad told reporters:
“What has changed to make something that what was not acceptable a week or 10 days ago [acceptable now]? The exclusion of Jerusalem is a very serious problem for us.”