American Middle East envoy George Mitchell has asked Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak for a “deposit,” an advance commitment of a one-year freeze on construction in West Bank settlements. but Israel has agreed to suspend building on the settlements for six months, at most.
Israel and the U.S. also disagree over the future of 2,500 housing units already under construction in the settlements. Israel wants to complete all of these homes, while Mitchell seeks to reduce the number to be completed as much as possible.
Negotiations over the issue will continue over the coming weeks. Netanyahu and Mitchell are to meet in London on August 26 for another round of talks. A highly-placed source in Jerusalem said he expected agreement on the issue at the meeting.