Limit on settlement building ‘to be made official’
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: AP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly about to make a public commitment to restraining settlement building for the duration of peace talks with the Palestinians.
An unofficial freeze on building has been in place for months – although settlement-planning has continued apace, according to NGO Peace Now.
Mr Netanyahu told US Secretary of State John Kerry that he will limit the issue of building tenders to 1,000 housing units in West Bank settlements, Haaretz reported.
Sources close to the prime minister said that he is likely to announce the limit on Sunday, as well as proposing the release of 82 Palestinian prisoners as part of concessions to kick-start peace talks.
The cap represents a compromise between the Palestinian Authority demand for a complete freeze on settlement building and continuing construction as normal.
Peace talks are expected to restart next week.
Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister, told the Telegraph yesterday that Israel was prepared to make “very serious territorial concessions” in order to achieve peace.