Israeli settlers have resumed building in the West Bank that could destroy peace talks with the Palestinians.
A 10-month building freeze expired last night, despite efforts by the international community to have it extended.
The Palestinian president said yesterday that peace talks that started less than a month ago would be a “waste of time” if the ban was lifted.
But Israel has urged Mahmoud Abbas to stick with the negotiations even as the construction continues. Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said:
“We want this process to succeed and that is why Prime Minister Netanyahu called upon President Abbas to continue with these talks- ultimately only through ongoing, intensive, direct and serious negotiations.”
A spokesman for Abbas said no decision will be made on the future of the talks until October 4, when he will have consulted with the Arab League.
The United States, sponsor of the negotiations, has put pressure on Israel to extend the building freeze but Prime Minister Netanyahu was unable to convince pro-settler parties within his ruling coalition.