America losing its patience: Almost a month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked his ministers to approve a settlement freeze extension in exchange for a US benefit package, American officials are saying that efforts to extend the moratorium have failed.
Following the failure, American officials said that the US is mulling the possibility of resuming proximity talks between the sides. Meanwhile, Ynet learned that Israeli officials are looking into the possibility of offering another withdrawal to the Palestinians and handing over security powers to the Palestinian Authority.
Two US officials familiar with months of failed efforts to get Israel to reinstate a freeze on some new construction said Tuesday the administration has concluded that is not the best way to restart the stalled talks.
However, the US is expected to announce that efforts aimed at resuming talks between Israel and the Palestinians will continue.
At this time, Israel and the US will continue their talks, with Defense Minister Ehud Barak aiming to find a solution for the predicament in talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"After consultation with the parties, we have determined that a moratorium extension will not at this time provide the best basis for resuming direct negotiations," one US official said. The second official said an announcement of the decision was expected later in the day.
Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
'We'll engage both sides'
The officials stressed that the administration was not giving up in trying to broker a peace deal and noted that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will be visiting Washington next week for consultations. One official compared the situation to the indirect talks that existed before the face-to-face negotiations were launched in early September.
"In the coming days and weeks we will engage with both sides on the core substantive issues as well as with Arab states and other international partners with the goal of working toward a framework on all permanent status issues," the first official said.
According to the deal reportedly worked out by Netanyahu last month, Israel was to receive a benefit package that includes 20 stealth fighter jets and a US veto on anti-Israeli resolutions at the Security Council in exchange for the freeze extension. According to initial reports, Israel was to receive the fighter jets free of charge, but later it turned out that the planes will be paid for.
Yitzhak Benhorin and AP contributed to the story
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook