U.S. abandons push for renewal of Israeli settlement freeze
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
By Karen DeYoung
With senior Israeli and Palestinian negotiators scheduled to hold talks in Washington next week, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton due to deliver a major Middle East speech Friday, it was unclear what direction the administration's policy will now take.
U.S. officials who briefed reporters here and in Jerusalem on the condition of anonymity said Tuesday that the administration had taken off the table a package of political and security incentives offered to Israel in exchange for a 90-day freeze on West Bank settlement construction.
The expectation had been that the three-month freeze would provide breathing space for Israeli-Palestinian negotiators to gain momentum in talks on issues including the borders of a Palestinian state.
The United States ultimately decided not to comply with an Israeli request to put its offer in writing, including $3 billion worth of jet fighters, a commitment to object to anti-Israel resolutions in international organizations, and an agreement never again to ask for a suspension of settlement construction.