Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Thursday with settler leaders but failed to ease anger over his cabinet's decision to temporarily halt new Jewish construction in the West Bank.
Following the tense meeting in Netanyahu's Tel Aviv office, the settler leaders vowed to continue to oppose last week's decision to impose a 10-month moratorium on issuing building permits for new West Bank Jewish homes.
"Nothing came out of the meeting," settler leader Pinhas Walerstein said after the meeting.
According to a senior government official, Netanyahu said "there is no going back on the decision," but reiterated construction would resume once the moratorium expires, urging settlers "patience" in order to avoid a crisis.
"Bibi promised us that at the end of the 10 months the construction will resume, but I seriously doubt it," Walerstein said, using Netanyahu's nickname.
During the meeting, the settler leaders presented numerous complaints on the implementation of the decision, which the Prime Minister said he would look into and raise with Defence Minister Ehud Barak, the official said.
"The decision is not easy for you as it is not easy for me, but it is the optimal action for Israel to take under the current conditions," he quoted Netanyahu as saying.
First Published: Thursday, December 03, 2009, 20:28