Israel wants deal with U.S. over construction in existing settlements
Israel would dismantle over 20 settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank in the next few weeks if the U.S. drops its objections to continued construction in existing settlements, Israeli officials said. Last week, President Barack Obama held talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House and demanded a stop to all settlement expansion. But Netanyahu is insisting his government will continue to build homes in existing settlements.
Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak will present the new proposal to senior U.S. officials during his upcoming visit to Washington, the Israeli officials told the AP.
Under the terms of the Middle East "road map" plan, Israel is to both evacuate the outposts and halt building in existing settlements.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is slated to meet Obama at the White House on Thursday, and Ahmed Qurei, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said the demand for a complete settlement halt will be the main topic during the talks. "Any attempt to maneuver on the implementation of the road map regarding settlement activities is unacceptable," Qurei told The Associated Press on Tuesday.