Monday, November 23, 2009

In last chance to relaunch peace talks, Netanyahu may ask cabinet to okay 10-month settlement freeze

(Haaretz).Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering seeking either cabinet or governmental approval for a ten-month freeze in West Bank settlement construction, in a bid to relaunch stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

A senior official in Jerusalem said the move would include a commitment to a series of limitations and restrictions on settlement building, but would not halt construction in East Jerusalem.

Israeli officials hope that the official declaration of a settlement freeze would enable the renewal of the negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, which has refused to engage in peace talks until Israel implements such a measure.

Netanyahu has updated the Obama administration as to his position on the settlement freeze. The United States has demanded the move for a long time over the past year, and it was not immediately clear whether Washington has accepted Netanyahu's stance.