Israel settlement freeze: US expresses disappointment as
Israel resumes building
The US has expressed regret and disappointment after Israel announced
it would not extend the 10-month moratorium on new settler homes in the
Published: 10:06PM BST 27 Sep 2010
An Israeli settler gestures as he argues with a left-wing activist
taking part in a protest in Jerusalem calling on the continuation of a
building freeze Photo: Reuters
Israeli settlers resumed building across the West Bank after the
partial freeze on construction expired, but there was widespread praise
for Palestinians, who held back on threats to quit peace talks over the
"We are disappointed, but remain focused on our long term objectives,"
said Philip Crowley, a spokesman for the US State Department. "One way
or the other the parties have to find a way to continue direct
European leaders were unanimous in their concern at the Israeli
decision, and warned that the Middle East peace talks could founder on
William Hague, the foreign secretary said he was "very disappointed"
and would personally pass on his appeal to Israeli Foreign Minister
Avigdor Lieberman at the UN General Assembly in New York.
At a joint news conference with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas,
Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, expressed his "regret that the
unanimous calls for the moratorium on Israeli settlement building to be
extended were not listened to. I deplore this."
Mr Sarkozy said the 10-month freeze "should have been extended to give
negotiation a chance. I say this in front of President Abbas:
'settlement must stop'," he said.
Baroness Ashton, the EU's High Representative for foreign affairs, said
that as there is no alternative to a negotiated solution " ... it is in
everybody's interest to find a satisfactory way for the negotiations to
continue and gather momentum."
Direct Israeli-Palestinian talks resumed in September after a 20-month
hiatus, under the auspices of the United States but without fellow
peace Quartet members the EU, Russia and the United Nations.