Israeli Prime Minister, head of the Likud Party, Benjamin Netanyahu, told his government coalition partners on Sunday that the so-called “temporary freeze on settlement activities” ends in eight months, and that settlement construction would resume immediately after the freeze ends. Netanyahu had to declare a 10-month settlement freeze due to pressure by the United States as the Palestinian Authority said it will not hold peace talks with Israel while it is ongoing with its illegal settlement activities.
The so-called settlement freeze declared last November did not include settlement construction and expansion in occupied East Jerusalem and its surrounding areas.
Yet, Netanyahu claimed that Israel is interested in “peace” with the Palestinian people in order to reach a settlement to the conflict.
He said that the peace talks should be resumed as soon as possible.
Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian territories Israel illegally occupied after the 1967 six-day war. The Palestinians are demanding East Jerusalem as the capital of their anticipated independent state.
Also On Sunday, Netanyahu said that his government will not release what he described as “terrorist leaders” as part of a prisoner-swap deal with the resistance, holding prisoner of war, Gilad Shalit, captive since June 2006.
Israel is holding more than 8500 Palestinians, including hundreds of children and women, in its prisons. 325 Palestinian detainees, including three women and two children, are imprisoned under the illegal administrative detention orders.
It is worth mentioning that Nabil Abu Rodeina, spokesperson of President Mahmoud Abbas, rejected the accusation of Netanyahu in which he blamed the Palestinians for the lack of progress in peace talks.
Abu Rodeina added that the Israeli acts violate the International Law, and also violates Israel’s own commitments to the Road Map Peace Plan.