Israelis wary, Palestinians, Americans worried as terror stalks peace talks (3)

10:25, September 03, 2010      

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But settler leadership that was also on hand in the American capital - hoping to checkmate the right-wing leader against possibly far-reaching concessions to his Palestinian interlocutor - remained unimpressed with Abbas' remarks and called on the Israeli premier to pack his bags and head for home.

"It's unfitting for Netanyahu to attend ceremonies and festive dinners as the victims of the terror attack are being buried," Danny Dayan, the head of the Yesha Council of Settlements in Judea and Samaria told the Haaretz daily.

"When the attack occurred, we called on the prime minister to return home... Unfortunately, the prime minister did not follow our suggestion, just as he did not follow other suggestions given to him recently and the ceremonies continue," Dayan said.

Settlement movement leaders, in a clear suggestion of their own, announced an immediate resumption of construction Wednesday evening. This, despite a 10-month self-imposed freeze by Israel, set to end September 26.

Abbas, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and other Palestinians have said that they will walk out on talks if the bulldozers are fired up.

Despite the threat, settlers held a symbolic resumption of construction at several West Bank communities Wednesday evening. Bulldozers turned over earth, and children gathered nearby to mix concrete, and spread mortar.

Elsewhere in the West Bank on Wednesday, the symbolism was less celebratory. Witnesses said they saw several dozen settler youths trying to set a field on fire near Beit Hagai, according to The Jerusalem Post, as others stoned Palestinians in a neighborhood in Hebron.

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