(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday declined to comment on Israel's request for written guarantees from Washington regarding the agreement for a renewed settlement construction freeze.
She said she could not go into details, but that the US is working closely with the two sides towards creating conditions that would enable renewed talks.
Security cabinet members skeptical over new freeze
'PA opposition delaying written US freeze proposal'
Earlier on Wednesday Israeli officials tried to defuse speculation that a
disagreement between Israel and the US over east Jerusalem construction
had delayed the anticipated American document detailing the terms of an
incentives package in exchange for a 90-day settlement freeze.
details of that incentives deal, which have been leaked to the media,
have stated clearly that such a moratorium would not involve east
Israeli officials said that during last Thursday's meeting between Prime Minister Binyamin Netnayhu and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, where they discussed the 90-day freeze deal, it was understood that east Jerusalem would not be mentioned in the document.
The Shas party's expected abstention from the Security Cabinet vote on the deal — a stance which is critical to its passage — is linked to its understanding that the document would clarify that east Jerusalem construction is not included in the settlement freeze.
Israel has continuously explained to the US that east Jerusalem is part of Israel's united capital and that it does not intend to halt construction there, Israeli officials said.
The Palestinians in contrast
, have insisted that all Jewish construction must be halted both in West Bank settlements and in east Jerusalem, before they would agree to return to the negotiating table.
Earlier Wednesday, Palestinian Authority chief negotiator Saeb Erekat
told Army Radio that the PA will only learn the details regarding the
new US freeze proposal during a meeting between the assistant of US
Mideast peace envoy George Mitchell and PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Israeli claims that Palestinians are torpedoing the [new] understanding
between Washington and Jerusalem are just part of the regular Israeli
machinations in the blame game," Erekat told Army Radio.
said during the interview that the key to peace negotiations between Israel and the
Palestinians is in the hands of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Israelis know our position...we will negotiate beginning with borders
and security...all other core issues...will be dealt with after 90
days," he stated.
The Palestinian official also called for a two-state solution along 1967 borders.
am under your [the Israeli] occupation...we want to reach a two-state
solution with 1967 borders...we have recognized your existence," Erekat