Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Netanyahu eyes 3-month freeze on settlement to revive peace talks

Netanyahu is working on a year-long plan to revive peace talks with the Palestinians, which would involve a three-month freeze on settlement building, Maariv newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Under the terms of the plan, which were outlined in the Maariv newspaper, the Israeli premier is planning to follow the three-month moratorium with nine months of restricted building which would limit construction to meet the natural growth needs of the settlements.

Part of the reason for Netanyahu’s reluctance to reimpose the ban is because he lacks support for such a move within his right-wing coalition, but Maariv said the premier had been working behind the scenes to build support for his new initiative.

He has also been preparing a contingency plan which would see him expanding the coalition and bringing in the opposition centrist Kadima Party to re-place the ultra-nationalists of Yisrael Beitenu, who are the vehemently opposed to any further ban, paper said.

In Netanyahu's entourage is said these days that the prime minister is determined and plans to start a genuine process and show leadership. They said that the budget vote in the coming weeks will give the Prime Minister two years of "social peace" and he can concentrate on implementing its plan to resume talks in January for a limited period of one year .Netanyahu has not made a final decision and, facing heavy pressure to which it is subject, it might change your mind at any time, depending on political circumstances or situation in the security field.

Netanyahu is hoping to present the plan to US President Barack Obama next month, following themid-term elections of November 2. Details of the plan would only be made public after the state budget is passed within the coming weeks, with the aim of making a fresh stab at negotiations with the Palestinians in January, the paper said.

The Office of the Prime Minister has sent the following response: "These assertions are false.Contacts with the U.S. government continues to revive the peace talks, but contrary to what some media, no decision has yet been taken on this issue. "