RAMALLAH, October 26 (JMCC) - Israel
's prime minister is planning to implement a settlement
freeze, changing a key party in his government coalition in order to do so, reported an Israeli daily on Tuesday.
According to Maariv, government sources say that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
plans to implement a three-month total settlement freeze, followed by a nine-month period of restrained construction.
Netanyahu's current hawkish government partners are opposed to such a move, and therefore, he would replace the right-wing party Yisrael Beitenu
with an agreement with center left Kadima
. The departure of Yisrael Beitenu from the government would mean the resignation of controversial foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman and the return to government of Kadima's Tzipi Livni
Israel has faced increased pressure from the United States and European Union to implement a settlement freeze that would allow negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis to proceed. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas
has refused to continue talks as long as Israel pursues its program of constructing Jewish settlements in Jerusalem
and the occupied West Bank.