Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday he had hoped the upcoming expiration date for Israel’s settlement freeze would not cause the Palestinians to talk out of recently relaunched peace talks, adding that peace talks had taken place for 17 years without West Bank building disrupting them in any way.
Benjamin Netanyahu greeting Mahmoud Abbas at his residence in Jerusalem, Sept. 14, 2010.
Earlier Tuesday, the Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators called on Israel to extend its settlement moratorium, due to expire September 26, saying the freeze has had a positive impact as the two sides seek a peace deal within the next year.
“The Quartet noted that the commendable Israeli settlement moratorium instituted last November has had a positive impact and urged its continuation,” said the statement, due to be issued by the Quartet, which comprises the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia.
When asked regarding the possible consequences of Israel’s continued construction in the West Bank, Netanyahu told reporters on Tuesday that he hoped “[Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas would continue the talks and not walk out.”