Ali Waked
November 4, 2009 - 1:00am,7340,L-3800249,00.html

The Palestinians are optimistic about comments made by American officials in recent days. Palestinians sources told Ynet on Wednesday that the Americans said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has committed to halt construction in settlements.


The sources said that despite the Palestinians' dissatisfaction with US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's public support of Israel on settlement construction, Netanyahu has officially committed to a freeze.


The sources said that Clinton recently stressed to Arab states at a conference in Morocco that there has been no change in the American position calling for an end to settlement construction.


The Palestinians said they had an agreement with the Americans, according to which peace talks will not be resumed with an official Israeli announcement that construction in settlements will be halted.


"We are not concerned by a change in the American position on the settlement issue, we only expressed our dissatisfaction with the American denial of understandings we reached with them, since there is no point in resuming talks without a public Israeli commitment," a source said.


"The Americans continue to demand an end to construction in settlements, but they demand of us not to condition talks on this. They are still trying to reach a formula, which will enable us to return to negotiations with a clear commitment, one that will not embarrass Netanyahu within his government," the source added.

The source went on to say of meeting with high ranking US officials: "We understood from the Americans, that excluding things that are already on the field and works in the settlements, the rest is frozen, and there is no new construction in settlements and there will be none. At least that's what the Americans tell us."


Meanwhile, the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who is currently in Cairo commented once again on Wednesday on the issue, saying the United States does not recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territories.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017