Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied media reports claiming that Tel Aviv had agreed to slow the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank to kick-start the peace process.
The Prime Minister’s Office denied reports by Hebrew-speaking and Arab news outlets that the White House special envoy Jason Greenblatt and senior Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders had secured backing for new final status agreement talks, including assurances from Israel that construction in the occupied West Bank would be slowed during negotiations with the PA.
Greenblatt met a Palestinian delegation headed by chief negotiator of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Saeb Erekat, yesterday and informed him of President Donald Trump’s initiative to re-launch political negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.
During the meeting, which discussed Trump’s vision for kick-starting talks, Palestinian officials confirmed that the Israeli side promised the Americans that they intended to slow down construction of settlements during the negotiating process.
Reports also confirmed that Trump will formally announce the resumption of direct talks between Israel and the PA, chaired by Mahmoud Abbas.
Other Israeli sources, however, confirmed that no such assurance was given.