Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered the Palestinian Authority a limited freeze on new construction in the West Bank if the PA agrees to a return to peace talks. Reports say the offer was made Wednesday.
Made and rejected, according to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat. He says the freeze offered only included construction by government officials, and not any of the construction done by private contractors, which is the vast majority.
Erekat went on to say that the PA was willing to accept the deal, but only if the settlement building was stopped entirely, saying “either it stops or it doesn’t stop.”
The offer shows a considerably different take on the freeze than Netanyahu has made public, repeatedly insisting in speeches that he would never agree to any sort of freeze again. Though the offer was not successful it suggests that behind the scenes the Israeli government still is at least open to making concessions to resurrect the talks, which have been stalled for over a year.
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