Netanyahu. Secured cabinet majority for freeze
Photo: AP

State official: Palestinians delaying freeze

Cabinet yet to vote on 90-day settlement construction moratorium, but fingers already being pointed. Jerusalem source says final agreement version being stalled due to Palestinian fear that US incentives take pressure off Israel

The forum of seven ministers has already discussed the details of the American freeze proposal, Likud members are outraged , but the cabinet has yet to vote on the proposal for a three-month construction freeze.


A state official said Tuesday that despite the cabinet majority Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has secured for the move, it's the Palestinians who are delaying a finalized version of the proposal.


"What is causing the delay in drafting an agreed version of the American paper is the Palestinian claim that the understandings between Clinton and Netanyahu are too good for Israel and deny them of pressure means," the state official said.


"The political benefits take the pressure off Israel and prevent the Palestinians from carrying out their strategic plan of evading direct talks and trying to impose UN resolutions on Israel."


Despite the Israeli accusations, Palestinian Authority officials refrained from directly addressing the benefits Israel is slated to get from the US in exchange for an additional settlement construction freeze.


'Israel trying to lower our expectations'

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat stressed that his men had yet to receive the details of the deal from the Americans, implying that Israel was trying to cause the PA to respond to the understanding through the media, before an official agreement had been reached.


"Abu Mazen (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) informed Netanyahu that the Palestinian Authority would not resume the negotiations if Israel renewed the settlement construction," Erekat said.


"The Israeli talk about resumed construction even in some of the settlements is a one-sided step which greatly influences the negotiations. This is an Israeli attempt to lower our expectations."


Erekat stressed, however, that the Palestinians had no plans to compromise on any of their demands.


"Peace, as far as we are concerned, does not include giving up on any rights. It will be based on the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders – in addition to the return of refugees and the release of all prisoners. Israel must think twice before it builds a strategy supporting leaving the situation as is. We won't take part in such a move."


Netanyahu presented the plan he drafted with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the cabinet over the weekend.


The US proposal presented to the ministers is premised on a construction moratorium extension for another three months. Netanyahu apparently reached an understanding with Washington that the building freeze would not apply to Jerusalem, and that no further moratorium would be sought following the 90-day period.


US President Barack Obama and Clinton were quick to commend Netanyahu for his willingness to impose another moratorium, however the paper awaiting the cabinet's approval has not been finalized yet. "Nothing is set in stone until there is a written paper," the state official noted.


Ali Waked contributed to this report



פרסום ראשון: 11.16.10, 14:40
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