'US, Israel can make settlement deal'

New envoy Oren: Gaps between positions will shrink; says Netanyahu's peace preconditions attainable.

michael oren 248 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
michael oren 248 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )
It is possible for the US and Israel to come to an agreement over continued construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, incoming Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren insisted Monday afternoon. Oren told Army Radio that relations between the White House and Jerusalem were still "warm," despite recent media speculation. "I definitely foresee a situation in which we narrow the gap between the Israeli and American positions. In my opinion, the gap is becoming smaller and smaller." The new envoy rejected claims that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's preconditions for the establishment of a Palestinian state as presented in his policy speech Sunday were unattainable. "Netanyahu did not abandon the possibility of a Palestinian state, rather, there was a problem with the term 'state,' because the world interprets a state as a sovereign entity." The future ambassador also addressed the prime minister's continued refusal to accept a two-state solution which ended Sunday, saying that he viewed the matter as "a rather successful attempt to establish the borders of national consensus." "Netanyahu must face the world and especially the [US President Barack] Obama's administration," he added.