Though the “partial” settlement freeze in the occupied West Bank is still officially in effect, Israeli MP Danny Danon played host to an unofficial “end,” pouring the cornerstone in a new settlement construction project in retaliation for a shooting attack in Hebron.
That was two days ago, and since that time the settlers have announced a massive number of new settlement projects which will flout the Netanyahu government’s freeze, with more than 60 projects across the West Bank now under way.
Settler spokesman Naftail Bennet says the construction is aimed at protesting the “phony peace” talks being brokered by the US, and insists that once the construction is complete “they’ll understand Israelis are here to stay,” predicting that “they will give up.”
The settlement freeze is scheduled to expire on September 26, with a number of Israeli officials threatening to leave the coalition government if there is an attempt to extend it. Palestinian officials have made it clear this will end the peace talks, meaning that they will get at best 1-2 of the “bi-weekly” meetings in before the end of the freeze means the end of the talks.