The Obama administration wants Israel to expand the 10-month moratorium on West Bank settlement construction for another three months, according to London-based paper A-sharq al-Awsat.
The Arabic language paper reported Thursday morning that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had agreed to the US suggestion, but that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had yet to respond.
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The report came after hours of
at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem between
Netanyahu, Abbas, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and their
respective staffs on Wednesday night. There were indications,
specifically from US Mideast envoy George Mitchell, that the sides were
not only talking about how to overcome the settlement construction
moratorium, but also about core issues such as security, Jerusalem,
borders and refugees.
In his comments after the trilateral meeting however, Mitchell refused
to shed any light on the nature of the compromise being worked out on
the moratorium issue, other than to say the issue was being tackled, and
that progress was being made.
Netanyahu’s position on the moratorium ending on September 26, The Jerusalem Post
has learned, did
not change during Wednesday’s meetings.
In recent days, he has discussed the possibility of building quietly for
natural growth in the settlements, in line with the guidelines used for
construction under the Olmert and Sharon governments.