Aides to US Secretary of State John Kerry will request that the Israeli government freeze all construction in settlements outside of the large blocs of communities that Israel intends to keep in any final-status deal with the Palestinians, Army Radio reported.

Kerry's aides say the request will be an integral part of the framework agreement that will allow for the negotiations to continue past the originally allotted nine months, according to Army Radio.

Officials in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office have yet to officially respond to the request, Army Radio reported. While there has been no official response from Jerusalem, government officials have resigned themselves to the fact that Israeli gestures are necessary in order to entice Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas back to the negotiating table.

According to Army Radio, Israel would declare an "unofficial" freeze  to all construction in the isolated Jewish settlements that lie outside of the major population centers under Israeli control in the West Bank.

While an official freeze on construction requires a government edict, an unofficial freeze could be implemented by placing bureaucratic obstacles and red tape on building plans or having the defense minister order the Civil Administration, which is charged with approving construction plans in the territories, to cease deliberating on such plans. In addition, the interior minister could instruct the Jerusalem Building and Planning Council to halt all plans in sensitive areas of the city, and the prime minister could order the housing minister to cease publishing tenders.

An unofficial freeze would enable government officials to deny its existence while in practice halting all construction, according to Army Radio.


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