BARKAN, West Bank—Koby and Mali Kalabrino live with their three children in a cramped mobile home steps away from this Jewish settlement's public basketball court.
Construction of their new house and the rest of a 62-unit development here has been stalled by an Israeli halt on construction of Jewish homes in the West Bank.
That freeze, which expires at the end of the month, has been an early sticking point in peace negotiations that resumed this month for the first time in nearly two years. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he'll pull out if the moratorium is abandoned, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has yet to agree to an extension.
Many settlers oppose the peace process and the idea of a solution that includes the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
These settlers see an extension of the freeze as the first step in forcing them to abandon their claim to what they see as Israel's historic land, and to their role in keeping Palestinian militants at a bay. Some settlers say they would comply with such a decision, while others vow active resistance to any Israeli evacuation.
"Once you do a freeze of the Jews, you are organizing them to be packed up," said Hillel Weiss, a resident of the settlement of Elkana, and leader of a group that promotes autonomy from the Israeli government. "It's the feeling that it's the beginning of the end and we don't have anything to lose."
.Some 300,000 Israelis are spread across 123 Jewish settlements recognized by the Israeli government and dozens of other unrecognized sites across the West Bank, not including those in East Jerusalem. Since the first Israeli-Palestinian talks in 1993, the number of settlers in the West Bank has roughly tripled.
Settlements range in size from large swaths of suburban sprawl adjacent to Israeli territory to much-smaller hilltop citadels in the heart of the Arab West Bank. Residents vary as well, from religious nationalists who consider the West Bank a biblical birthright of the Jews to nonideological settlers seeking housing bargains.
Many Israelis who built homes in West Bank settlements consider their move as part of a government-financed policy to make permanent Israel's presence in the territory occupied after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Many settlers insist that the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank would only ratchet up the security risk to Israel's heartland.
"They are telling us to leave, and then Hamas will stand here and fire missiles toward Tel Aviv," says Nathalie Hershkovitz, a 13-year resident of Barkan, pointing to the office towers of the country's commercial capital 23 miles away. "The government of Israel did not get a mandate to negotiate on the Land of Israel. I feel like they stole my vote."
Mr. Netanyahu is under pressure from members of his conservative coalition government and settler leaders, an important constituency, not to back down. Palestinian negotiators say that every new house infringes on territory that will be part of their future state.
Barkan is a settlement of single-family villas with panoramic views west to the Mediterranean and north to the Samarian mountain range. A 10-minute drive on four-lane highway allows residents to drive into Israel proper for groceries.
At the site of the 62-unit development where the Kalabrinos hope to move, rows of empty, overgrown plots are bounded by stone-mason walls and telephone-switchboard boxes. A shipping container holds the Kalabrino family's furniture.
Mr. Kalabrino, a 45-year-old manager of a private security firm, calls the freeze "another excuse of the Palestinians to undermine the peace process.''
Many settlements, especially those close to Israel, are likely to be incorporated into the Jewish state in any peace deal, in exchange for land somewhere else, according to analysts.
Many other settlements far from Israel's border would likely need to be dismantled. One such settlement is Eli, on a mountaintop overlooking a valley of Palestinian farming villages, about 25 miles by car from Israel's border. A sign at the entrance to the settlement reads, "Continuation of the freeze—Start of the uprooting."
Avishai Vach, a father of eight, stood next to an empty lot of gravel in Eli where he hopes to build a six-bedroom house. A two-state solution, he fears, would be the first step to Israel's destruction. "You think my house is stopping the peace?" he says. "If I stop bulding will Iran or Hamas be friendlier?"