Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday called a freeze in West Bank settlements a ‘national necessity,’ a day after he approved building permits for nearly 500 new housing units in six separate blocs.
“We extent our hand in peace to all of our neighbors,” Barak said during a toast held to mark the upcoming Jewish New Year, adding that he hopes Israel, the Palestinians and the international community “realize that the time has come and we must not miss this opportunity.”
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