WASHINGTON (JTA) — Stopping natural growth inside settlements would be prejudging final-status talks, said a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In a Thursday conference call sponsored by The Israel Project, Mark Regev reiterated Netanyahu’s previous statements that Israel would not build any new settlements or expropriate any new land to build new settlements. But he added that the status of settlements will be determined in final-status talks and that "neither side should be taking any steps" to "change the realities to prejudge the outcome" of those talks.
By not allowing "normal life to continue" inside settlements, such as by not building a school or kindergarten when necessary, also would be "prejudging" final status "by saying a community should die," said Regev.
Regev added that the United States and Israel are "trying to find common ground" on the settlement issue so they can "move on."