Tuesday, September 28, 2010

PM silent amid world criticism of moratorium’s end


Mitchell to arrive today to continue search for compromise; Lieberman says Arab League should deal with its own enormous problems.

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday to continue efforts to find a compromise to the settlement moratorium issue, as only muted sounds of building were heard on Monday in a few settlements, and voices of disappointment were raised around the world that Israel didn’t extend the freeze. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has not said anything publicly about the end of the settlement construction moratorium since it expired at midnight on Sunday, is scheduled to meet with Mitchell on Wednesday. On Monday he met for the second time in four days with Quartet envoy Tony Blair, speaking with him at his private residence in Caesarea.

Blair also met with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who has been intensely involved in trying to find a compromise solution. Blair left the region after those talks.

Netanyahu, according to sources in his office, was on the phone throughout the day on Monday with leaders around the world and in Washington.

“The diplomatic ball is very much in play to ensure a continuation of the talks [with the Palestinian Authority],” one government source said.

In the meantime, the official added, quoting from an interview Ambassador to the US Michael Oren gave over the weekend to the American media, construction will be “responsible, restrained and limited.”

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