U.S. and Israel yet to reach settlement agreement
Special US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell failed to make a compromise with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday over West Bank settlement construction. An official from the Prime Minister’s Office said the two had made progress on the settlement issue. The Obama administration has demanded that Israel freeze all construction settlement for a year, while Israel has only committed to a six month freeze. The Palestinians, meanwhile, have demanded a complete halt of settlement construction as a prerequisite to any peace talks.
“We hope to bring this phase [on settlements] of our discussions to early conclusion and to move forward in our common search for a comprehensive peace in the region,” Mitchell told reporters after before the meeting.
Mitchell also said he hoped that a meeting could be arranged between Netanyahu, Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in New York during the United Nations General Assembly scheduled later this month. He will be traveling to Ramallah later on Tuesday to try to persuade Abbas to agree to the meeting.
On Monday night, PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Palestinian Authority would not comprise on settlements.