Netanyahu asks Abbas to continue talks despite end of freeze
Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu called on the Palestinians to continue direct peace negotiations despite an end to the ban on West Bank settlement construction. In a statement moments after the end of the 10-month partial freeze, the Israeli leader asked Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas to continue seeking a "historic" deal.
Earlier, Abbas warned that peace talks would be a "waste of time" unless the freeze was extended.
It is expected that the construction of dozens of housing units will resumed on Monday.
Meanwhile, Washington renewed calls for Israel to maintain the construction freeze, saying its position on the issue remained unchanged. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with Netanyahu and also with Tony Blair, the representative of the Middle East Quartet (the EU, Russia, the UN and US), as the end of the construction freeze neared, a spokesman said