Officials: Adopting road map can stop US pressure; Clinton denies Bush, Israel agreed on settlements.
By JPOST.COM STAFF
A day after US President Barack Obama called on Israel and the Palestinians to "redouble efforts" towards a two-state solution, officials in Jerusalem assessed that Israel will eventually have no other option but to accept the establishment of a Palestinian state, Israel Radio reported on Saturday.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will have to adopt a two-state solution because Washington will not give up on this issue, the officials reportedly said.
Israeli officials told the radio station that if Netanyahu agrees to adopt the road map peace plan, he will prevent Obama's administration from pressuring Israel into accepting the establishment of a Palestinian state in different circumstances.
The Jerusalem Post could not independently confirm the report.
Senior diplomats involved in preparing US envoy George Mitchell's upcoming visit to Israel reportedly said that Netanyahu will insist on continued settlement construction to accommodate natural growth.
New ways to incorporate the Jewish state's needs into the new US foreign policy will also be examined, the officials said.
Mitchell will land in Israel on Tuesday. He is expected to meet with President Shimon Peres and with Netanyahu, as well as with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Late on Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that she was unaware of any agreement between her country's previous administration and Israel concerning the expansion of settlements in the West Bank.
"With respect to the conditions regarding understandings between the United States and the former Israeli government and the former government of the United States, we have the negotiating record. That is the official record that was turned over to the Obama Administration by the outgoing Bush Administration," Clinton said said at a news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at the State Department.
"There is no memorialization of any informal and oral agreements. If they did occur, which, of course, people say they did, they did not become part of the official position of the United States Government," she went on, adding, "And there are contrary documents that suggest that they were not to be viewed as in any way contradicting the obligations that Israel undertook pursuant to the Roadmap. And those obligations are very clear."
On Thursday, Obama clarified his administration's policy towards the settlements in his address to the Muslim world in Cairo, stating that "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlementsâ€¦ it is time for these settlements to stop."
Soon after Obama's speech, a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post that Washington feels "an arrangement that works" can be hammered out with Israel on the settlement issue.
"There's a professional, constructive dialogue on this issue," the official said. "We have differences, but believe we can find an arrangement that works."
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article included an inaccurate quotation of Secretary Clinton's comments. The Jerusalem Post apologizes for the error
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