U.S. calls for Israeli settlement freeze
At the conclusion of current U.S. brokered Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will call for Israel to implement a partial settlement freeze as a part of Kerry’s framework to extend peace negotiations, the AFP reported on Wednesday.
The United States is looking for Israel to freeze settlement construction in all areas located outside the main West Bank blocs, areas which Israel seeks to keep in any negotiated solution, according to AFP.
Peace talks resumed in July 2013 with the goal of reaching a final status of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The talks are based on a nine-month deadline, which is set to expire in April 2014.
Kerry has visited the region over ten times in hopes of concluding an agreement, and is currently developing a framework agreement that would allow current negotiations to proceed past the April deadline, AFP reported.
Both Israeli and Palestinian leaders have publicly criticized Kerry and the ongoing negotiations, as both sides are at odds over a number of issues, including Israeli settlement construction on land that Palestinians see as part of their future state.
The framework agreement is set to be made public early next month, though it is unclear whether talks will continue past the deadline. The PLO has said that it will take further steps to seek international recognition after the deadline expires, actions which they halted as a part of negotiations.