Sunday, November 14, 2010
Image via WikipediaNetanyahu Said to Agree to Seek Settlement Freeze - NYTimes.com
WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has agreed to push his cabinet to freeze most construction on settlements in the West Bank for 90 days to break an impasse in peace negotiations with the Palestinians, an official briefed on talks between the United States and Israel said Saturday evening.
In return, the Obama administration has offered Israel a package of security incentives and fighter jets worth $3 billion that would be contingent on the signing of a peace agreement, the official said. The United States would also block any moves in the United Nations Security Council that would try to shape a final peace agreement.
The quid pro quo was hashed out by Mr. Netanyahu and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in seven and a half hours of talks in New York on Thursday.
The partial freeze would not include East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians view as the future capital of a Palestinian state and where recent Israeli building set off a firestorm of criticism.
It was unclear whether the prime minister could win approval for the United States deal from his cabinet, which has been reluctant to freeze settlement construction. It was also unclear if the leaks of the details of the agreement, which were widely reported in Israeli newspapers on Saturday, were designed to put pressure on Mr. Netanyahu.