Senior Fatah official Nabil Shaath said Monday that the Palestinians have decided to grant the US a few days to convince Israel to renew the moratorium placed on West Bank settlement construction.
"We want to give the Americans four to five days to see if they can convince Mr. Netanyahu to seriously reconsider canceling the freeze," said Shaath during a visit to France.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also weighed his words carefully, saying, "We will not have any quick reactions," during a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris.
Abbas urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to extend the moratorium by three to four months, and said he will give his final answer after the Arab League meets on October 4.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel will not wait for the Arab League's decision. "If the Arab League is seeking challenges to deal with, there are many in the Arab world. Hundreds of people are killed each week in terrorist attacks, and poverty and despair cry out to the heavens.
"Instead of solving these problems, the leaders of the Arab League prefer to run away from them, and blame Israel for all their internal problems. Instead of dialogue, they prefer to incite the masses against the Jews," added Lieberman.
The United States lauded Abbas' tame response, and expressed displeasure with the resumption of construction in the West Bank. Britain, Europe and the United Nations also expressed concern over the lifting of the building freeze.
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