As the so-called temporary freeze on settlement activities in the occupied West Bank had officially ended. Talks between the United States, Israel and the Palestinian Authority are ongoing in an effort to overcome this obstacle, whilst Israeli settlers are celebrating the resumption of settlement activities. Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, received several calls from U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, and King Abdullah of Jordan urging him to extend the freeze.
Israeli sources reported that Netanyahu stated that Israel is willing to continue these talks in the coming days in order to reach a compromise for continuing peace talks with the Palestinians.
Netanyahu also demanded that Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, continue talks with Israel in order to achieve what he described as “a historic peace agreement”.
He also said that he hoped Abbas “would resume the path of peace that started three weeks ago”, and added that many leaders around the world realized that he [Netanyahu] is serious and respects his commitments.
During his Sunday meeting with Jewish leaders in France, president Abbas said that the peace process would be a waste of time should Israel resume its settlement activities in the occupied territories.
He also stated that he will continue to hold meetings with Jewish leaders and representatives around the world, and added that he believes peoples make peace, not governments.
Abbas admitted that the current talks are facing numerous obstacles adding that the time has come for decisions, not talks. He also stressed that the Palestinians want an independent state within the 1967 borders with certain modifications, such as possible land swaps.
The Palestinian President further stated that the Arab Follow-up Committee will be holding a meeting in Cairo on October 4th to discuss the issue of resuming talks with Israel after it decided to resume its settlement activities.
The United States started separate talks with Israel and the Palestinian Authority, while U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, phoned Netanyahu twice on Sunday.
This is happening while settlers in the occupied territories held celebrations marking the end of the temporary settlement freeze and vowed to double their construction work.
Israeli Transportation Minister, Yisrael Katz, stated Sunday that settlement constructions will resume, and called on all parties that have construction permits to start building.
His statements came as he spoke to more than 3,000 members of the Likud party. He told them that all constructions will resume as usual.
Settlers celebrating the end of settlement freeze at the Revava settlement demanded Netanyahu not to “subdue” to any pressures, and to start authorizing all constructions in Israeli settlements.
Settlers leaders also called on Netanyahu to admit that he made a mistake by imposing a freeze on settlement activities.
Furthermore, Likud member of Knesset, Tzipi Hotovely, said that the Likud party was not elected in order to establish a Palestinian State, and also called for resuming all settlement activities in the occupied territories, including in occupied East Jerusalem.