Israel Suspends West Bank Settlements

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that his country will be scaling back on construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank for the next 10 months, an attempt to ease tensions and further peace negotiations with Palestine. "It enables us to present the world with a simple truth: The Israeli government wants to enter into negotiations and it is very serious about its intentions to advance peace," said Netanyahu of the move, which has also been described as an attempt to put public pressure on Palestinian authorities to re-enter negotiations. Things have not gone smoothly so far, and Israel’s partial suspension of construction is a far cry from the total cessation sought by Palestine. "Any return to negotiations must be on the basis of a complete settlement freeze, and in Jerusalem foremost," said a spokesperson for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.