Officials Say Israel 'Surprised' by Call to Freeze Construction
Reports out of the ongoing US-Israel negotiation on settlement construction limitations have revealed that Israel has rejected the most recent US proposal, which called for a full freeze of construction in isolated settlements, and some limits on the building in more established blocs.
Under the deal, the US would look the other way on unrestricted construction in occupied East Jerusalem, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced this is going to be the case, despite not accepting the rest of the terms of the agreement, which is said to have been met with “dismay” by US officials.
At the same time Israel, which had expected the Trump Administration to be excessively accommodating, is said to be surprised by how stringent the US calls for limitation are, particularly the call for 100% freezes on expansion of the isolated sites.
Many of the isolated settlements were founded with the explicit idea of segmented off parts of the occupied West Bank to prevent a contiguous Palestinian state from being possible. In many cases, those settlements are still small, but are expected to grow in ways that will cut Palestinians off from key roads and other parts of the region.
Netanyahu is claiming “significant progress,” though so far the indications are that he has simply made declarations of concessions the US will ultimately give him, without detailing any of the concessions he might ultimately agree to, if any at all.
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