Monday, April 26, 2010

Palestinians signal readiness to start peace talks

clipped from news.yahoo.com
An Ultra-orthodox Jewish boy climbs on timber beams at a construction site in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, Monday, April 26, 2010.

JERUSALEM – The Israeli government has effectively frozen new Jewish construction in Jerusalem's disputed eastern sector, municipal officials said Monday. The decision was made despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's public insistence that building would not be stopped in the face of U.S. pressure.

It remained unclear if the slowdown constituted a formal moratorium or how long it would last, but the move reflected Netanyahu's need to mend a serious rift with the U.S. over Israeli construction on lands the Palestinians claim for a future state as Washington tries to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

In an interview Monday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signaled he would be ready to start indirect peace talks with Israel, after weeks of hesitation.


"If we see there is a freeze, we will not sit quietly and the prime minister knows that," he said. "This coalition will not allow the prime minister to freeze building in Jerusalem."

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