PM: New Building Permits Will Not Affect Peace Process

Abbas says Netanyahu should take advantage of offer to continue talks with silent settlement construction freeze.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's preoccupation with the settlement building was "superficial" and that the additional permits will not affect the the peace process.

Prime Mminister Benjamin Netanyahu

"The discussions about the new building permits are superficial, as only a small percentage have been added. The addition is trivial and does not affect the situation in the settlements, or a possible peace treaty with the Palestinians," Netanyahu said during a Likud members' meeting in Tel Aviv.

"I prefer to have a face to face conversation with him [Abbas]," Netanyahu said, referring specifically to an interview aired on Channel 1 news on Sunday in which Abbas said that he had already transferred four messages to Netanyahu via officials in which he said that he was willing to settle for a silent settlement freeze in order to continue talks.

"If the Palestinians want to find problems then we won't proceed. If they want to solve the problems, I think that there are other ways to get over the gaps and move forward," Netanyahu told the Likud members.