Jerusalem, 28 jumadil Akhir 1434/7 May 2013 (MINA) –  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered to freeze the construction in the West Bank Jewish settlements.

       Netanyahu informed Housing Minister Uri Ariel the decision before he left for China.

       Ariel, from the nationalistic Jewish Home party, is a major player in the establishment of several settlements in the past decades.

       He had recently said that if the construction in the settlements would be frozen, his party would not support the upcoming 2013-2014 budget.

       Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority came to a halt in 2010 over Israel’s construction in the West Bank settlements. Reported Israeli Army Radio, Tuesday (7/5).

       Following UN’s acceptance of the Palestinian Authority as a non- member observer state in last November, Prime Minister Netanyahu ordered the construction of tens of thousands of housing units in the West Bank settlements, as well as the E1 territorial stretch joining east Jerusalem with the West Bank territories, to the ire of the international community.

      This is not the first time Netanyahu ordered to freeze construction in the West Bank settlements.  Xinhua quoted as monitored by by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).

      In a speech at the Bar Ilan University June 2009 , Netanyahu endorsed the two-state solution with a “demilitarized Palestinian side” alongside Israel and called to freeze construction in the settlements for a period of ten months.

      The report on the latest freeze comes amid hectic efforts made by the U.S. administration to restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

      On Monday (6/5), the U.S. State Department announced that Secretary of State John Kerry were to meet with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the Israeli chief negotiator with the Palestinians which will be their second meeting in less than a week.

      According to the announcement, both of them are to meet to materialize the “terms of reference” for renewing the peace process.

      They met on Thursday in Washington discussing the Arab League’s proposal to re-launch its 2002 peace initiative, calling for an agreement based on the two-state solution.

      U.S. President Barack Obama and Kerry visited Israel in March 2013 ago and Kerry has returned for a second visit last month. Kerry is set to return to the region soon, according to the state department.

      Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that he would support a referendum on a future peace deal which may complicate efforts to reach a final agreement. (T/P09/P04).

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)


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