Israelis protest against settlement freeze

By Jessica Elgot, December 10, 2009
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More than 10,000 protesters gathered in Paris Square, Jerusalem

More than 10,000 protesters gathered in Paris Square, Jerusalem

Protests over Binyamin Netanyahu’s plans for a 10 month freeze on settlements continued through the night in Jerusalem, where around 10,000 settlers, Charedim and sympathisers gathered.

It was US President Barack Obama who was the main target of anger from settlers, who gathered near the official residence of the prime minister, in the city’s Paris Square.

Banners criticised the US influence on Israeli policy. One read “We were hoping for change, got the same old imperialist.”

Another read: “Bibi, you serve us, not the US.”

Jerusalem: A protestor carries a placard

Jerusalem: A protestor carries a placard

Mr Netanyahu has announced a 10-month moratorium on settlements in the West Bank from the end of November.

But the building of 3,000 homes already agreed will be allowed to continue, and the freeze does not include east Jerusalem.

MK Aryeh Eldad, addressing the crowd, said: "When Netanyahu speaks of a settlement freeze he means disengagement. Jews are not popsicles (ice lollies); you don't freeze us so fast."

President Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Authority, has refused to negotiate with Israel until a total settlement freeze is agreed, including east Jerusalem.

    Last updated: 3:39pm, December 10 2009