Under pressure. Netanyahu
Photo: Hagai Aharon
Incentive. F-35 plane (archives)
Photo: AFP

Israel: Freeze deal with US nearly finalized

Government sources say Jerusalem, Washington close to agreement on American incentives package aimed at convincing hard-liners to back settlement construction moratorium. 'Pressure on Bibi increasing daily,' official says

Israeli government officials expressed optimism on Thursday regarding the possibility that the drafting of letter detailing understandings on the proposed 90-day building moratorium in the West Bank will be completed shortly.


The crucial document from the US is meant to persuade government hard-liners to renew a ban on settlement construction so that the stalled Mideast peace talks could resume.


A US official told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Washington was drafting a letter that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reached with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in New York last week.


An Israeli official said an agreement has been reached on most of the American incentives detailed in the document, including the delivery of 20 F-35 warplanes in 2015.


It remains unclear whether the Cabinet will convene Thursday to vote on the agreement, but a government official said, "It must be passed as soon as possible, because the pressure on Netanyahu is increasing every day."


Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Interior Minister Eli Yishai overnight Thursday in an effort to garner Shas' support for a three-month freeze.


Yishai, who heads the religious party, demanded that the government approve the construction of dozens of housing units in the West Bank once the freeze expires.



פרסום ראשון: 11.18.10, 13:33
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