Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be willing to consider suspending construction in the West Bank for several months — but first plans to authorize hundreds of new apartments there, an aide said Friday.
The U.S. has been pressing Israel to agree to a settlement freeze, and the Palestinians have said they would not resume peace talks unless Israel suspends construction on lands they want for a future state. Friday’s statement was the first time an aide has said in the name of the prime minister’s office that such a move could be imminent.
He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose plans Netanyahu has not officially announced.
It was unclear to what extent Israel would actually freeze construction. Netanyahu made it clear through his aide that Israel does not intend to abandon its West Bank settlement enterprise, and it seemed clear that thousands of units would continue to be built in the West Bank even during a supposed freeze.