Netanyahu at Technion prize ceremony 311.
(photo credit: Avi Ohayun / GPO)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke at the ceremony for his Prime Minister's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Prize in Haifa on Thursday. Netanyahu said that following his talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, that "we are in intense contacts to advance the understandings to propel the political process forward."
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The prime minister reiterated that the American settlement freeze deal would "safeguarding the interests [of the country], chiefly security." He added, "If I receive such an offer, I will bring it to the cabinet for approval and I have no doubt that members of the government will accept it."
Earlier on Thursday, President Shimon Peres expressed hope that, in the next few days, the details of the agreement to continue the building freeze will be finalized and direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians will resume.
The president's comments came after a US official said the Obama
administration is drafting written diplomatic and security assurances to
Israel to persuade Netanyahu's government to renew a freeze on West
Bank settlement activity.
"It was always envisioned that there would be a letter detailing our
understandings," the official said on Wednesday. "We are nailing down
Netanyahu was hopeful on Wednesday night that negotiations with the US
over a written incentives package in exchange for a 90-day settlement
freeze will soon be completed.
The US document would reflect the understandings reached between
Netanyahu and Clinton at their meeting last Thursday in New York, the
Prime Minister’s Office said.
“If the American document is designed according to these principles, it
will be an excellent agreement for the State of Israel,” the Prime
Minister’s Office said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.