Menu JTA Search

Netanyahu plans to tell Clinton Israel will continue construction

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

JERUSALEM, April 3 (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will stand behind his construction policies in Jerusalem and the territories when he meets with President Clinton on Monday, an aide said. “The prime minister will make clear in Washington that Israel stands by its right to build in Jerusalem and in settlements,” Netanyahu’s spokesman Shai Bazak said Thursday. His statement came amid reports that Clinton would press Netanyahu to agree to freeze settlement activity as part of an effort to create an atmosphere in which faltering peace negotiations could resume. Clinton is considering an Israeli proposal to go directly into accelerated final-status negotiations as a key aspect of a package he is putting together with the aim of breaking the deadlock in the Israeli- Palestinian negotiations. But American sources have said that in return, Netanyahu will be called on to make concessions. In addition to a freeze on construction activity, the sources said the Israeli leader might be asked to commit to carrying out the second and third redeployments from West Bank rural areas on schedule, and to consult with the Palestinians on their scope beforehand. The first redeployment, which was slated for March, was not implemented after the Palestinian Authority objected to the scale of the pullback, saying that it was insufficient. As for the Palestinians, Clinton will demand that Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat take significant steps against terrorist groups. Netanyahu reiterated his accusation Thursday that the Palestinian leader had given the green light for violence because of the political impasse with Israel.

NEXT STORY