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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mitchell enables another week's time to negotiate re: settlement construction

Moratorium ends, but major building not expected
By HERB KEINON   09/27/2010 00:48 Jerusalem Post

October 4 Arab League meeting looms as new deadline, while US, Israeli, PA officials continue search for acceptable bridging formula

Israel’s 10-month moratorium on new construction in the West Bank settlements expired at midnight Sunday, but Israel and the Palestinian Authority have agreed to devote another week to finding a compromise that will keep the recently relaunched direct talks from breaking down over the issue.

During this period, PA President Mahmoud Abbas will not announce that he is quitting the talks, and, because of Succot, there is not expected to be any sudden, major construction boom in the settlements – even though theoretically work could start immediately on some 2,000 housing units for which all the permits have already been granted.

The idea of buying another week’s time to negotiate emerged from various meetings US envoy George Mitchell held over the weekend with Abbas and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who were both in New York.