News / Middle East

Netanyahu: Israel, US Close to Settlement Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens during a press conference in Jerusalem about a US-drafted deal to renew a freeze on new construction in West Bank settlements, 15 Nov 2010
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu listens during a press conference in Jerusalem about a US-drafted deal to renew a freeze on new construction in West Bank settlements, 15 Nov 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he is close to reaching an understanding with the United States on a package of incentives Washington will offer in exchange for a one-time, 90-day construction freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Netanyahu's office said he hopes to conclude contacts with the U.S. "soon" in order to present the deal to his 15-member security cabinet. Officials close to the Israeli prime minister said he could convene the cabinet within the next 24 hours to approve the deal.

Representatives from Israel's ultra-Orthodox Shas religious party said Wednesday they would abstain from the vote if the deal specifically excludes East Jerusalem - claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians -- from the settlement freeze. Shas abstentions would allow the proposal to succeed.

Israeli officials said Mr. Netanyahu also is seeking explicit assurances from the U.S. that he will not have to extend the building moratorium after the 90-day period ends.

A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday the Obama Administration is drafting a letter to the Israeli government detailing the diplomatic and security guarantees reached last week between Mr. Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, U.S. envoy David Hale met with Palestinian officials in the West Bank Wednesday to discuss the emerging deal. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said his side would not offer comments until the details are worked out.

It was the first time Palestinian leaders had been officially informed of the plan.

The U.S. proposal would fund the delivery of 20 advanced F-35 stealth fighter jets to Israel, in addition to 20 of the warplanes that Israel had already ordered for purchase. The U.S. also has pledged to block any independent attempt by Palestinians to declare statehood at the United Nations.

In exchange, Israel would agree to the settlement freeze, a condition that Palestinian officials say is key for their return to direct peace talks.

Direct negotiations between the two sides broke down after Israel's 10-month settlement freeze expired in September. Palestinians oppose construction on land they want as part of a future state.

Earlier Wednesday, the Israeli military said it launched an air strike in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip that killed two Palestinian brothers. Officials said one of the brothers is a senior member of the Army of Islam militant group and he had been plotting an attack against Israelis in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

NEW: Follow our Middle East stories on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

 

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid