West Bank settlement construction will not affect the final status peace deal between Israel and a future Palestinian state, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday, adding that he felt the settlement issue wasn?t an obstacle to continued peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.
The premier had refused to extend a 10-month moratorium on new West Bank settlement housing that expired on September 26, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas saying he won?t resume the talks without an extension on the building curbs.
Earlier Thursday, Abbas hinted that the Palestinians would try to persuade the United States to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, if Israel kept up its refusal to freeze settlements.
?For now, we are focusing on the first option [negotiations],? Abbas said.