December 1, 2009

On November 25, the Israeli cabinet approved a plan to halt settlement construction in the West Bank for ten months. The freeze applies to new home construction, but not building currently in progress or building in East Jerusalem. The moratorium allows for construction of a finite number of public buildings, such as synagogues and schools; only 28 such public building projects will be allowed by Israel during the moratorium.

Following Netanyahu’s announcement, U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell gave a press briefing to address the settlement freeze, during which he emphasized the importance of the “broader context, particularly how it affects the situation on the ground and how it can contribute to a constructive negotiating process that will ultimately lead to an end to the conflict and to a two-state solution.”

For more information on Israeli settlements, see:

Israeli Political Parties’ Positions on Settlements for an overview of positions and actions taken on settlements by Likud and its four coalitions partners, as well as the main opposition party, Kadima.

Basic Facts on Israeli Settlers for statistics on the number of Israeli settlers, descriptions of settler groups, and survey information on settlers’ opinions on proposals of relocation for compensation.

The E1 Corridor for a description of the location, size and history of the E1 corridor, a strip of land between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim, and discussion of plans for investment and building in the area.

A Plan for Settler Relocation for an outline of previous efforts to pass legislation involving compensation for settlers willing to voluntarily relocate from the West Bank to within the borders of pre-1967 Israel.

Key Middle East Quartet Statements for an overview of the Quartet and its various initiatives, including the Road Map peace plan and its requirements of any Palestinian government.

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“We knew at the outset that the task would be difficult. We acknowledged that publicly and privately. We knew this would be a road with many bumps— and there have been many bumps—and that continues to this day. But we are not deterred. We are, to the contrary, determined more than ever to proceed to realize the common objective, which we all share, of a Middle East that is at peace with security and prosperity for the people of Israel, for Palestinians, and for all the people in the region. We will continue our efforts in that regard, undeterred and undaunted by the difficulties, the complexities or the bumps in the road.”—George Mitchell, special envoy for Middle East peace, remarks with Prime Minister Netanyahu, September 29, 2010

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