Israeli Ambassador in Washington, Michael Oren, confirmed that the United States granted Israel further guarantees and incentives in return for renewing the freeze on settlement activities for two or three more months. In an interview with the Washington Post, Oren said that the Obama administration granted Israel a number of guarantees in an attempt to boost the efforts at resuming direct Palestinian-Israeli talks.
Part of the incentives is an American offer to grant Israel advanced diplomatic and military support in return for extending the settlement freeze for an additional 60 days.
Oren stated that the Palestinians must clearly and officially recognize the “legitimacy of the state of Israel” and to recognize the rights of the Jewish people in the region.
He said that in return, Israel must recognize the same legitimacy of a Palestinian state, and added that should the two parties fail do so, the conflict will never end.
Oren stated that the Arab League will be holding its meeting Friday to discuss the future of peace talks with Israel and added that the United States is trying to convince the Arab leaders and the Palestinian Authority not to quit talks with Israel.
The Israeli ambassador blamed the Palestinian Authority for the idleness in peace talks, saying that the P.A. “wasted” eight months of the 9-month freeze period.
He also stated that the recently expired settlement freeze caused a diplomatic crisis for Benjamin Netanyahu.