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Source: Israel will freeze settlement construction

Officials in Jerusalem say that while there will not be a de jure freeze, construction outside of major settlement blocs will be halted 'It will take a while, but eventually talks will resume'

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 04.12.13, 00:44 / Israel News

US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to the Mid-East may have ended without any obvious results, but official sources involved in the preliminary talks said Thursday night that "eventually the negotiations will resume. Israel is expected to quietly freeze construction outside of the major settlement blocs in order to resume bilateral talks."

 

A few days ago Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demanded that Prime Minister Netanyahu present a permanent agreement border outline.

 

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Netanyahu, supported by his senior ministers refused the demand as well as any other demands for Israeli gestures.

 

Yet a senior official told Ynet that "while there won't be a de jure freeze, but quietly, quietly – construction outside the major blocs will be halted in order to resume negotiations. Israel will not make an official declaration but the move will be carried out on the sly as part of understandings between Israel and the US."

 

Jerusalem says that Kerry is determined to renew talks between the two sides and Netanyahu sees resumption of negotiations as a strategic move.

 

"It will take a while, but eventually talks will resume. Now they are looking for a solution that will allow Abbas to save face. There is a great deal of American pressure and Netanyahu is very interested in resuming talks following Obama's visit."

 

Nevertheless, On Wednesday night senior officials in Jerusalem who were present during talks between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Israel does not intend to present any confidence building measures towards the Palestinians.

 

The sources claim that the "preliminary demands presented by the Palestinians attest to the fact that they are peace refusniks. We on the other hand are not presenting any pre-conditions, not even recognition of Israel as the national home of the Jewish nation."

 

US Secretary of State John Kerry is attempting to renew talks between the two sides but it is not going to be simple.

 

Possible gestures like releasing prisoners or withdrawal from Area C in order to enable the Palestinian Authority to carry out projects were rejected outright.

 

"There will be no response to any demand where the purpose (of the demand) is to supply appease the Palestinians and make them come to the table," an Israeli source noted.

 

"Ministers are unanimous over the decision of not giving in to any pre-condition. They present conditions in order to make the process of renewing direct talks difficult. There will be no gestures, especially not land withdrawals."

 

 

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