Bulldozers were already working to construct Jewish West Bank settlements this morning, after Israel’s construction freeze expired at midnight, but Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas did not immediately abandon the peace talks as he had threatened. Abbas will instead consult with Arab leaders and allow another week before making a decision, as the US continues working toward a compromise. Meanwhile, building of more than 50 new housing units has already begun, the Jerusalem Post reports.
The Israeli defense minister reportedly has compromise proposals in hand, according to Israeli newspapers, but no details have been confirmed, the New York Times reports. Despite not agreeing to continue the settlement freeze, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Abbas “to continue the good and sincere talks that we have just started.” Netanyahu had previously called for “restraint” in construction, which will start slowly thanks to this week’s Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
(Read more Mideast peace talks stories.)