Report: Settlement freeze in exchange for Iran sanctions
Hours before Netanyahu-Mitchell meeting in London, British Guardian reports of breakthrough in renewal of Mideast peace talks. According to report, US will take firmer line against Iranian nuclear threat, promote normalization between Israel, Arab states, in exchange for freeze of construction in settlements
The US administration is on the brink of a breakthrough in Mideast peace talks. According to British newspaper the Guardian, President Barack Obama has managed to convince Israel to commit to freeze construction in settlements in exchange for the US adopting more stringent policies regarding the Iranian nuclear plan.
According to American, European, Israeli and Palestinian sources, US special envoy to the Mideast George Mitchell is slated to announce the resumption of peace talks by the end of next month.
Obama, according to the Guardian, will announce a breakthrough either at the United Nations' General Assembly in New York on September 23, or at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh on the 24th and 25th of next month.
According to the report, the American promise to take a firmer line against the Iranian nuclear plan has convinced Jerusalem to get on board with the initiative.
It said the US, Britain and France plan to pressure the UN Security Council to expand sanctions against the Islamic Republic, including sanctions on its gas and petrol industries – a move that is sure to shake up Iran's already collapsing economy.
In addition to the firmer approach regarding Iran, Israel will also gain steps towards normalization of ties with Arab states.
In exchange, Israel will be willing to freeze construction in settlements. The report quoted a source close to the talks as saying. "The message is: Iran is an existential threat to Israel; settlements are not."
Details of a breakthrough are slated to take shape during the meeting between Mitchell and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.
Tuesday evening, Netanyahu met with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and the two discussed the freezing of construction in settlements as well as the Iranian threat.