Israel Ends Freeze On West Bank Settlement Construction

Israel's partial moratorium on West Bank construction expired late Sunday without a compromise aimed at keeping Palestinians from quitting recently relaunched Mideast peace talks. But intense negotiations under American mediation continued Sunday night and Palestinians gave no sign that a walkout was imminent. Shortly after the 10-month moratorium expired at midnight, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying he was prepared to continue efforts to resolve the settlement standoff in the coming days and calling on Palestinians to "continue the sincere, good talks we have just begun, with the purpose of achieving an historic peace agreement between our two peoples." The expiration of the moratorium cleared the way for about 2,000 new housing units to break ground in the days and weeks ahead on land occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East War.