Israeli PM Urges West Bank Settlers To Show Restraint

Israel's prime minister has urged Jewish settlers to show restraint, as the end of a 10-month ban on construction in the West Bank nears. Benjamin Netanyahu's comments came as West Bank settlers prepared to resume building if no deal was reached. Palestinians have said they could leave recently resumed peace talks if the construction freeze is not extended. Israel says the settlements are no bar to talks, but US negotiators have been working intensively to secure a deal."Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calls on the residents of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and all political players to display restraint and responsibility today and further along the way, exactly as they displayed restraint and responsibility during the 10 months when construction was suspended," a statement from the Israeli PM's office said. Jewish settlers are poised to begin building at a number of sites across the West Bank to mark the end of the moratorium on new construction which was imposed last November. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak is returning home from the UN in New York, where he has been leading Israel's negotiating team at the peace talks. Speaking to the BBC's diplomatic correspondent Bridget Kendall, he said he was heading back to Israel to try to convince members of the Israeli government of the need for a compromise but that he was not confident of success. Mr Barak was more upbeat on the prospects for the peace talks, which resumed in September after a 20-month hiatus.