JERUSALEM – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday offered the Palestinians backing for a halt to Jewish construction in the strategic West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem, but the Palestinian Authority refused her proposal.
At a press conference here today, Clinton publicly endorsed Israel’s view that Jewish construction in the West Bank should not impede resuming negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority had demanded a complete halt to settlement activity in line with previous demands from the Obama administration.
Palestinian diplomatic sources told WND that Clinton yesterday passed an offer to the Palestinians from Israel that would quietly see a halt to Jewish construction activity in the areas in question without any public declarations on the subject from the U.S. or the Israeli government.
The Palestinian sources said PA President Mahmoud Abbas rejected Clinton’s proposal, instead demanding a public declaration for a complete halt to settlement activity.
Still, Clinton gave Abbas a guarantee the U.S. would continue to press Israel in meetings to end Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem, said the sources.
While they privately rejected Israel’s proposal, the PA today publicly blamed the U.S. and Israel for stalling the resumption of talks with the Jewish state.
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh stated, “The negotiations are in a state of paralysis, and the result of Israel’s intransigence and America’s backpedaling is that there is no hope of negotiations on the horizon.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu countered by calling on the PA to “get a grip” and drop their construction freeze precondition for restarting talks. The PA never before made such a demand.