Israel again repeated that it would refuse to extend curbs on settlement construction that expire on Sept. 26. This reiteration of its position comes even though there is U.S. pressure to extend the freeze and Palestinian threats to pull out of the talks otherwise. Personally, I think that Israel would accept some sort of compromise but it may be that they do not think that it is necessary, thatwill not actually walk out of the talks. He has said that he sees no alternative to the talks.
The U.S. envoyMitchell has been reaching out to Lebanon and Syria in an attempt to get them involved in the process. No doubt their involvement is key to a comprehensive peace but with the roadblocks in the way of even continuing talks it seems a bit premature to be trying to involve them but at least keeping the lines of communication open is a good idea.
The United Nations on Friday also called for an extension of the moratorium."We reaffirm the UN's position that settlements are illegal under international law," Robert Serry, the top UN Middle East peace envoy, told a Security Council meeting
Israel's decision not to renew the moratorium was taken this week by the Forum of Seven top cabinet ministers, according to an Israeli newspaper. Recent talks failed to solve the settlement issue.
The Americans have suggested a three-month extension in which the two sides could agree on borders, which could bring a "final halt to settlement on the lands of the future Palestinian state," a Palestinian official said.
However Israel apparently would agree at most to a partial freeze while building still goes on in major blocs that Israel hopes to retain as part of any agreement. Construction in East Jerusalem is going on in any event since the Israelis already consider it as part of Israel even though it is regarded as occupied territory internationally.
Even as the peace talks are going on Israel did not hesitate to make a raid on a Palestinian refugee camp where it shot dead a Hamas commander. This could very well provoke a reaction that would further jeopardize the talks.