Israeli freeze on settlement construction ends

In the West Bank, settlers poured concrete for a new day-care center in a symbolic resumption of building and vowed to resume work in settlements throughout the territory, which Palestinians want for a future state. The Palestinian leadership had said it would withdraw from recently renewed negotiations if the building freeze was not extended, but appeared Sunday to be allowing more time for diplomacy…

The extent of renewed construction remained unclear, and settler leaders said much depended on permits that would need the approval of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the leader of the center-left Labor party. Settler leaders said there would not be an immediate burst of large-scale construction, but a gradual return to previous building patterns.

Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, said in an interview that “when construction resumes, it will be reserved, responsible and limited.”

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