End of Israeli Settlement Freeze Threatens Peace Talks

Aissa and his wife have seven children, four of them at colleges in Jordan, Egypt, and nearby Bethlehem. He sometimes even works as a builder inside Israeli settlements to support his family. But he is adamant there can be no peace talks if the building in Efrat starts again.

"I support the settlement freeze completely," he said. "When they build they take our land, and when I try to build a new home in my village, the Israeli army says I can't. What's there to talk about?"

Aissa is a supporter of the so-called two state solution, but he is not alone among Palestinians in his refusal to recognize Israel's right to the settlements in the occupied territories.

"I am happy to recognize Israel. I've already done it, but Israel isn't here in the West Bank. Israel is somewhere else, on the other side of the line they crossed in 1967," he said referring to Israel's military conquest of the West Bank during the Six Day War.

Palestinians Do Not Consider Israelis in Efrat to Be Neighbors

As to Mayor Revivi's claim of good neighborly relations, Aissa has a very different view.

"These people aren't my neighbors. Unless I have a special permit and a magnetic security card from the Israeli army I can't even get into the settlement to work. They only want us when they need us to build their new homes. There is no normal relationship with them," he said.

On the front line of this latest crisis in the peace process Revivi from Efrat and Aissa from Wadi Nis may be representative of their two communities. Neither are particularly extreme or likely ever to support violence, but they are miles apart on how they see an end to this conflict.

On the immediate issue of the settlement freeze they show little appetite for compromise ahead of Sunday's deadline. For the time being nor do their leaders.

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