Israel Declares 10-Month Freeze on Settlements
Not good enough, say Palestinians
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2009 2:20 PM CST
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaks during a press conference in his Jerusalem office, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2009.   (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
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(Newser) – Benjamin Netanyahu declared a 10-month freeze on new West Bank settlements, hoping to bring Palestinians back to the negotiating table. “We have been told by many of our friends that once Israel takes the first meaningful steps toward peace, the Palestinians and Arab states would respond,” said the Israeli PM. But because the moratorium doesn't include Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as a capital, it looks to be dead in the water.

The ban will apply only to new projects—those already underway will be allowed to continue—and won’t apply to the predominantly Arab parts of East Jerusalem, reports Haaretz. This "is a very serious problem for us," said a Palestinian spokesman. The settlements have been a sore spot in US-Israeli relations, and Palestine has said it won’t negotiate until construction has been completely stopped.