|Palestinian official: US administration will continue its efforts to freeze illegal Israeli settlements.|
|Middle East Online, Dec 2, 2010|
RAMALLAH, West Bank – The United States has admitted it failed to secure a new Israeli settlement freeze to allow the resumption of peace talks, a Palestinian official told AFP on Thursday.
“The US administration has informed us that the Israeli government did not agree to a new settlement freeze,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“The US administration will continue its efforts,” the official added.
The United States has for weeks been trying to convince Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to impose a new moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank.
A previous 10-month freeze expired on September 26, shortly after the launch of new direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has said he will not return to the negotiating table without a ban on construction on land the Palestinians want for their future state.
The United States had reportedly offered Israel a package of incentives, including fighter jets and diplomatic support, in exchange for a new three-month freeze on settlement building.