Abbas told Netanyahu he would accept 'silent...

Abbas told Netanyahu he would accept 'silent freeze'




Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas told Israeli television Channel One yesterday that he had sent four messages to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and was willing to accept a "silent freeze" on building in the settlements, in order to make progress on negotiations regarding borders. Abbas added that there is worldwide consensus for the construction freeze, and reiterated that he would not resume negotiations with Israel until the settlement moratorium is renewed.
According to Abbas, Netanyahu explained to him that he feared a renewal of the freeze would lead to dissolution of his government. Abbas added that he told Netanyahu that he has an historic opportunity to make peace, but warned that if there were no progress in the coming days, the window of opportunity would close.
Regarding the recent issue raised, that refusing to recognise Israel as a Jewish state would create national claims by Israeli Arabs, Abbas said, "Obviously we recognise the State of Israel. It's obviously a Jewish state. If you want it recognised as the Jews' state you are free to do so. But you did not ask recognition from Egypt, Jordan or any other country in the world. You can do whatever you want, but it's not my business."
In response an Israeli government official said that the issue of a non-publicised freeze had raised but was not practical. "What is a silent freeze? How do the Palestinians explain they are going back to the talks? They will have to say there is no building, so as a result there will be no ‘silent freeze.'"
Behind the scenes efforts to find a solution to the settlement freeze impasse are continuing, led by Dennis Ross, special advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Yitzhak Molcho, chief Israeli Negotiator.