PMO says position on settlement freeze has not changed

Netanyhau rejects report that suggests US advised expanding 10-month moratorium on West Bank settlement construction for 3 more months.

September 16, 2010 13:04
1 minute read.
Men building

Men building 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The Prime Minister's Office issued a statement on Thursday in response to newspaper claims that the Obama administration wants Israel to expand the 10-month moratorium on West Bank settlement construction for another three months, saying that "we won't comment on the content of negotiations."

"Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's position regarding the time period allotted for the West Bank building moratorium is well known, and has not changed," the statement continued.

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The statements came as a response to London-based paper A-sharq al-Awsat's claims that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had agreed to the US suggestion of expanding the settlement freeze.

The report came after hours of discussions 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.

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