Netanyahu: US deal will safeguard Israel's security

Speaking at PM's entrepreneurship and innovation prize ceremony, prime minister says: We are in intensive contacts with the US to move the process forward.

November 18, 2010 21:44
1 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at Technion

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."

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."

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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 the specifics."

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.

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