NABLUS (Ma’an) -- Israelis resumed construction across several illegal West Bank settlements on Monday, following the expiration of Israel's 10-month partial moratorium at midnight.
Israel's Channel 2 said construction would be resumed in at least eight illegal West Bank settlements, including Kiryat Arba in Hebron.
Ghassan Doughlas, the Palestinian Authority chief of the northern settlement file, said settlers installed four caravans over the last 48 hours near the Qusra village in the northern Nablus district, adding that bulldozers have begun wide-scale diggings around the Yitzhar settlement in the district.
Member of the Madama village council in the Nablus district Hassan Ziyada said settlers began similar diggings on Monday morning in the village. Six heavy-duty bulldozers were seen carrying out the work, with soil being loaded onto several trucks.
The Israeli news site Ynet reported Monday that building work for a new neighborhood in the illegal Ariel settlement in the northern West Bank has begun, paving the way for 50 new housing units for Israeli settlers removed from Gaza as part of Israel's disengagement plan.
Sources within Palestinian anti-settlement committees said construction also began in settlements in the central Ramallah and southern Hebron districts.
Meanwhile, Israel Radio reported that bulldozers began work on the Adam settlement east of Ramallah where 30 new buildings are scheduled for construction. Abbas: Talks waste of time if settlements continue
Meeting with representatives of France's Jewish community in Paris on Sunday, President Mahmoud Abbas said talks would be a waste of time if Israel failed to extend the moratorium.
Abbas has reiterated that he would withdraw from talks if the freeze was not prolonged but has yet to declare an official stance. Palestinian negotiators said they would announce whether Palestinian officials will remain in talks on 30 September.
US efforts began on Friday ahead of the moratorium's end, in a bid to save peace talks from collapse over settlement activity. US President Barack Obama urged Israel to extend the freeze, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected over "internal political considerations, as most cabinet members were against such a move," Ynet reported.
Abbas is also scheduled to meet with leaders at an Arab League summit on 4 October to discuss the future of fragile peace talks in light of Israel's settlement activity.