Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, stated that Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied West Bank will likely continue after Israel’s “temporary freeze” on such activities ends by the end of September. He said that he does not believe Israel will stop its settlement activities in the occupied territories, and added that the government will leave an opportunity for a compromise that would enable the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas to continue peace talks with Israel.
The Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu and the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas started several days ago direct talks under US mediation and direct involvement.
But Netanyahu believes that the talks have little chances of success. He said that Israel allowed limited constructions in West Bank settlements during the “freeze” period.
Israel currently plans to intensify its settlement activities in the occupied territories after the “freeze” period ends on September 26.
Israel insists that it has “the right” to construct and expand Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and in occupied East Jerusalem. This issue is among the main issues that obstruct the chances to advance peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Under the International Law, and the Fourth Geneva Conventions, settlements are illegal and constitute a war crime.
Israel also refuses to hold talks on Jerusalem, the international guaranteed Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees and other core issues such as water, birders and natural resources.