Netanyahu explained that increased Jewish demographics in Israel via immigration, creating "facts on the ground" would cause mistrust between the Palestinians and Israel and "would not be helpful" in progressing the peace talks.
Israeli government ministers overwhelmingly approved (11-2) the temporary freeze in an effort to restart peace talks with the Palestinians.
At least one key Security Cabinet member, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, came out in favor of the proposal. "Its aim is to open a window for renewing negotiations with the Palestinians," he said.
"I hope that the Nefesh B'Nefesh immigration leadership, which is patriotic, responsible and serious, will understand the need for the decision at this time," Barak added.
"The understandings with the United States are of the utmost importance with regard to negotiations, and guarantees of security and its military supremacy."
The Nefesh B'Nefesh aliya/immigration organization was puzzled over the move. "Classical Zionism always included immigration of Jews to Israel and its our historic right to continue to move to Israel," stated a hastily compiled Nefesh B"Nefesh press-release.
MK and Minister Benny Beigin called the move, "painful but correct", and that after the 10 month immigration freeze, immigration would again resume.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon praised the "historic" decision, and urged the Palestinian Authority to seize the opportunity for peace.