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Israeli Cabinet Considers Extension of Settlement Moratorium

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, second right, chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem (file photo)

Israel is considering a new proposal aimed at breaking the deadlock in the Middle East peace process.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a U.S. plan to his Cabinet, which calls for a three-month extension of a moratorium on settlement construction. The previous 10-month moratorium expired in September, prompting the Palestinians to suspend peace talks.

Robert Danin, Council on Foreign Relations, speaks with VOA's Susan Yackee about the Middle East peace process:

In exchange for the Israeli concession, the United States would sell Israel 20 advanced stealth fighter jets worth $3 billion. The United States would also oppose Arab moves against Israel at the U.N. Security Council.

Mr. Netanyahu told the Cabinet that the deal is not final.

He said Israeli and American teams are still hammering out the details, and when the deal is complete it will be brought to the Cabinet for approval.

Mr. Netanyahu said he will insist that Israel's security needs and the threats facing the country in the coming decade will be addressed.

The Prime Minister is facing stiff opposition to a settlement freeze among hawks in his right-wing coalition, like Cabinet Minister Uzi Landau.

Landau said that if the proposal is approved, it will show that Israel has no red lines and no ability to withstand U.S. pressure.

The Palestinians expressed strong opposition to the plan because the moratorium on settlement construction does not include disputed East Jerusalem, which they claim as the capital of a future Palestinian state. Israel says East Jerusalem is part of its capital, and it reserves the right to build anywhere in the city.